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Title: Women and Economics - A Study of the Economic Relation Between Men and Women as - a Factor in Social Evolution
Author: Gilman, Charlotte Perkins
Language: English
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                          WOMEN AND ECONOMICS
 A Study of the Economic Relation Between Men and Women as a Factor in
                            Social Evolution


                       Charlotte Perkins Stetson


                      London: G. P. Putnam’s Sons
                    Boston: Small, Maynard & Company


 _In dark and early ages, through the primal forests faring,
 Ere the soul came shining into prehistoric night,
 Twofold man was equal; they were comrades dear and daring,
 Living wild and free together in unreasoning delight._

 _Ere the soul was born and consciousness came slowly,
 Ere the soul was born, to man and woman, too,
 Ere he found the Tree of Knowledge, that awful tree and holy,
 Ere he knew he felt, and knew he knew._

 _Then said he to Pain, “I am wise now, and I know you!
 No more will I suffer while power and wisdom last!”
 Then said he to Pleasure, “I am strong, and I will show you
 That the will of man can seize you,—aye, and hold you fast!”_

 _Food he ate for pleasure, and wine he drank for gladness.
 And woman? Ah, the woman! the crown of all delight!
 His now,—he knew it! He was strong to madness
 In that early dawning after prehistoric night._

 _His,—his forever! That glory sweet and tender!
 Ah, but he would love her! And she should love but him!
 He would work and struggle for her, he would shelter and defend her,—
 She should never leave him, never, till their eyes in death were dim._

 _Close, close he bound her, that she should leave him never;
 Weak still he kept her, lest she be strong to flee;
 And the fainting flame of passion he kept alive forever
 With all the arts and forces of earth and sky and sea._

 _And, ah, the long journey! The slow and awful ages
 They have labored up together, blind and crippled, all astray!
 Through what a mighty volume, with a million shameful pages,
 From the freedom of the forests to the prisons of to-day!_

 _Food he ate for pleasure, and it slew him with diseases!
 Wine he drank for gladness, and it led the way to crime!
 And woman? He will hold her,—he will have her when he pleases,—
 And he never once hath seen her since the prehistoric time!_

 _Gone the friend and comrade of the day when life was younger,
 She who rests and comforts, she who helps and saves.
 Still he seeks her vainly, with a never-dying hunger;
 Alone beneath his tyrants, alone above his slaves!_

 _Toiler, bent and weary with the load of thine own making!
 Thou who art sad and lonely, though lonely all in vain!
 Who hast sought to conquer Pleasure and have her for the taking,
 And found that Pleasure only was another name for Pain_—

 _Nature hath reclaimed thee, forgiving dispossession!
 God hath not forgotten, though man doth still forget!
 The woman-soul is rising, in despite of thy transgression—
 Loose her now, and trust her! She will love thee yet!_

 _Love thee? She will love thee as only freedom knoweth!
 Love thee? She will love thee while Love itself doth live!
 Fear not the heart of woman! No bitterness it showeth!
 The ages of her sorrow have but taught her to forgive!_


_This book is written to offer a simple and natural explanation of one
of the most common and most perplexing problems of human life,—a problem
which presents itself to almost every individual for practical solution,
and which demands the most serious attention of the moralist, the
physician, and the sociologist_—

_To show how some of the worst evils under which we suffer, evils long
supposed to be inherent and ineradicable in our natures, are but the
result of certain arbitrary conditions of our own adoption, and how, by
removing those conditions, we may remove the evils resultant_—

_To point out how far we have already gone in the path of improvement,
and how irresistibly the social forces of to-day are compelling us
further, even without our knowledge and against our violent
opposition,—an advance which may be greatly quickened by our recognition
and assistance_—

_To reach in especial the thinking women of to-day, and urge upon them a
new sense, not only of their social responsibility as individuals, but
of their measureless racial importance as makers of men._

_It is hoped also that the theory advanced will prove sufficiently
suggestive to give rise to such further study and discussion as shall
prove its error or establish its truth._

                                            _CHARLOTTE PERKINS STETSON._




Since we have learned to study the development of human life as we study
the evolution of species throughout the animal kingdom, some peculiar
phenomena which have puzzled the philosopher and moralist for so long,
begin to show themselves in a new light. We begin to see that, so far
from being inscrutable problems, requiring another life to explain,
these sorrows and perplexities of our lives are but the natural results
of natural causes, and that, as soon as we ascertain the causes, we can
do much to remove them.

In spite of the power of the individual will to struggle against
conditions, to resist them for a while, and sometimes to overcome them,
it remains true that the human creature is affected by his environment,
as is every other living thing. The power of the individual will to
resist natural law is well proven by the life and death of the ascetic.
In any one of those suicidal martyrs may be seen the will, misdirected
by the ill-informed intelligence, forcing the body to defy every natural
impulse,—even to the door of death, and through it.

But, while these exceptions show what the human will can do, the general
course of life shows the inexorable effect of conditions upon humanity.
Of these conditions we share with other living things the environment of
the material universe. We are affected by climate and locality, by
physical, chemical, electrical forces, as are all animals and plants.
With the animals, we farther share the effect of our own activity, the
reactionary force of exercise. What we do, as well as what is done to
us, makes us what we are. But, beyond these forces, we come under the
effect of a third set of conditions peculiar to our human status;
namely, social conditions. In the organic interchanges which constitute
social life, we are affected by each other to a degree beyond what is
found even among the most gregarious of animals. This third factor, the
social environment, is of enormous force as a modifier of human life.
Throughout all these environing conditions, those which affect us
through our economic necessities are most marked in their influence.

Without touching yet upon the influence of the social factors, treating
the human being merely as an individual animal, we see that he is
modified most by his economic conditions, as is every other animal.
Differ as they may in color and size, in strength and speed, in minor
adaptation to minor conditions, all animals that live on grass have
distinctive traits in common, and all animals that eat flesh have
distinctive traits in common,—so distinctive and so common that it is by
teeth, by nutritive apparatus in general, that they are classified,
rather than by means of defence or locomotion. The food supply of the
animal is the largest passive factor in his development; the processes
by which he obtains his food supply, the largest active factor in his
development. It is these activities, the incessant repetition of the
exertions by which he is fed, which most modify his structure and
develope his functions. The sheep, the cow, the deer, differ in their
adaptation to the weather, their locomotive ability, their means of
defence; but they agree in main characteristics, because of their common
method of nutrition.

The human animal is no exception to this rule. Climate affects him,
weather affects him, enemies affect him; but most of all he is affected,
like every other living creature, by what he does for his living. Under
all the influence of his later and wider life, all the reactive effect
of social institutions, the individual is still inexorably modified by
his means of livelihood: “the hand of the dyer is subdued to what he
works in.” As one clear, world-known instance of the effect of economic
conditions upon the human creature, note the marked race-modification of
the Hebrew people under the enforced restrictions of the last two
thousand years. Here is a people rising to national prominence, first as
a pastoral, and then as an agricultural nation; only partially
commercial through race affinity with the Phœnicians, the pioneer
traders of the world. Under the social power of a united
Christendom—united at least in this most unchristian deed—the Jew was
forced to get his livelihood by commercial methods solely. Many effects
can be traced in him to the fierce pressure of the social conditions to
which he was subjected: the intense family devotion of a people who had
no country, no king, no room for joy and pride except the family; the
reduced size and tremendous vitality and endurance of the pitilessly
selected survivors of the Ghetto; the repeated bursts of erratic genius
from the human spirit so inhumanly restrained. But more patent still is
the effect of the economic conditions,—the artificial development of a
race of traders and dealers in money, from the lowest pawnbroker to the
house of Rothschild; a special kind of people, bred of the economic
environment in which they were compelled to live.

One rough but familiar instance of the same effect, from the same cause,
we can all see in the marked distinction between the pastoral, the
agricultural, and the manufacturing classes in any nation, though their
other conditions be the same. On the clear line of argument that
functions and organs are developed by use, that what we use most is
developed most, and that the daily processes of supplying economic needs
are the processes that we most use, it follows that, when we find
special economic conditions affecting any special class of people, we
may look for special results, and find them.

In view of these facts, attention is now called to a certain marked and
peculiar economic condition affecting the human race, and unparalleled
in the organic world. We are the only animal species in which the female
depends on the male for food, the only animal species in which the
sex-relation is also an economic relation. With us an entire sex lives
in a relation of economic dependence upon the other sex, and the
economic relation is combined with the sex-relation. The economic status
of the human female is relative to the sex-relation.

It is commonly assumed that this condition also obtains among other
animals, but such is not the case. There are many birds among which,
during the nesting season, the male helps the female feed the young, and
partially feeds her; and, with certain of the higher carnivora, the male
helps the female feed the young, and partially feeds her. In no case
does she depend on him absolutely, even during this season, save in that
of the hornbill, where the female, sitting on her nest in a hollow tree,
is walled in with clay by the male, so that only her beak projects; and
then he feeds her while the eggs are developing. But even the female
hornbill does not expect to be fed at any other time. The female bee and
ant are economically dependent, but not on the male. The workers are
females, too, specialized to economic functions solely. And with the
carnivora, if the young are to lose one parent, it might far better be
the father: the mother is quite competent to take care of them herself.
With many species, as in the case of the common cat, she not only feeds
herself and her young, but has to defend the young against the male as
well. In no case is the female throughout her life supported by the

In the human species the condition is permanent and general, though
there are exceptions, and though the present century is witnessing the
beginnings of a great change in this respect. We have not been
accustomed to face this fact beyond our loose generalization that it was
“natural,” and that other animals did so, too.

To many this view will not seem clear at first; and the case of working
peasant women or females of savage tribes, and the general household
industry of women, will be instanced against it. Some careful and honest
discrimination is needed to make plain to ourselves the essential facts
of the relation, even in these cases. The horse, in his free natural
condition, is economically independent. He gets his living by his own
exertions, irrespective of any other creature. The horse, in his present
condition of slavery, is economically dependent. He gets his living at
the hands of his master; and his exertions, though strenuous, bear no
direct relation to his living. In fact, the horses who are the best fed
and cared for and the horses who are the hardest worked are quite
different animals. The horse works, it is true; but what he gets to eat
depends on the power and will of his master. His living comes through
another. He is economically dependent. So with the hard-worked savage or
peasant women. Their labor is the property of another: they work under
another will; and what they receive depends not on their labor, but on
the power and will of another. They are economically dependent. This is
true of the human female both individually and collectively.

In studying the economic position of the sexes collectively, the
difference is most marked. As a social animal, the economic status of
man rests on the combined and exchanged services of vast numbers of
progressively specialized individuals. The economic progress of the
race, its maintenance at any period, its continued advance, involve the
collective activities of all the trades, crafts, arts, manufactures,
inventions, discoveries, and all the civil and military institutions
that go to maintain them. The economic status of any race at any time,
with its involved effect on all the constituent individuals, depends on
their world-wide labors and their free exchange. Economic progress,
however, is almost exclusively masculine. Such economic processes as
women have been allowed to exercise are of the earliest and most
primitive kind. Were men to perform no economic services save such as
are still performed by women, our racial status in economics would be
reduced to most painful limitations.

To take from any community its male workers would paralyze it
economically to a far greater degree than to remove its female workers.
The labor now performed by the women could be performed by the men,
requiring only the setting back of many advanced workers into earlier
forms of industry; but the labor now performed by the men could not be
performed by the women without generations of effort and adaptation. Men
can cook, clean, and sew as well as women; but the making and managing
of the great engines of modern industry, the threading of earth and sea
in our vast systems of transportation, the handling of our elaborate
machinery of trade, commerce, government,—these things could not be done
so well by women in their present degree of economic development.

This is not owing to lack of the essential human faculties necessary to
such achievements, nor to any inherent disability of sex, but to the
present condition of woman, forbidding the development of this degree of
economic ability. The male human being is thousands of years in advance
of the female in economic status. Speaking collectively, men produce and
distribute wealth; and women receive it at their hands. As men hunt,
fish, keep cattle, or raise corn, so do women eat game, fish, beef, or
corn. As men go down to the sea in ships, and bring coffee and spices
and silks and gems from far away, so do women partake of the coffee and
spices and silks and gems the men bring.

The economic status of the human race in any nation, at any time, is
governed mainly by the activities of the male: the female obtains her
share in the racial advance only through him.

Studied individually, the facts are even more plainly visible, more open
and familiar. From the day laborer to the millionnaire, the wife’s worn
dress or flashing jewels, her low roof or her lordly one, her weary feet
or her rich equipage,—these speak of the economic ability of the
husband. The comfort, the luxury, the necessities of life itself, which
the woman receives, are obtained by the husband, and given her by him.
And, when the woman, left alone with no man to “support” her, tries to
meet her own economic necessities, the difficulties which confront her
prove conclusively what the general economic status of the woman is.
None can deny these patent facts,—that the economic status of women
generally depends upon that of men generally, and that the economic
status of women individually depends upon that of men individually,
those men to whom they are related. But we are instantly confronted by
the commonly received opinion that, although it must be admitted that
men make and distribute the wealth of the world, yet women earn their
share of it as wives. This assumes either that the husband is in the
position of employer and the wife as employee, or that marriage is a
“partnership,” and the wife an equal factor with the husband in
producing wealth.

Economic independence is a relative condition at best. In the broadest
sense, all living things are economically dependent upon others,—the
animals upon the vegetables, and man upon both. In a narrower sense, all
social life is economically interdependent, man producing collectively
what he could by no possibility produce separately. But, in the closest
interpretation, individual economic independence among human beings
means that the individual pays for what he gets, works for what he gets,
gives to the other an equivalent for what the other gives him. I depend
on the shoemaker for shoes, and the tailor for coats; but, if I give the
shoemaker and the tailor enough of my own labor as a house-builder to
pay for the shoes and coats they give me, I retain my personal
independence. I have not taken of their product, and given nothing of
mine. As long as what I get is obtained by what I give, I am
economically independent.

Women consume economic goods. What economic product do they give in
exchange for what they consume? The claim that marriage is a
partnership, in which the two persons married produce wealth which
neither of them, separately, could produce, will not bear examination. A
man happy and comfortable can produce more than one unhappy and
uncomfortable, but this is as true of a father or son as of a husband.
To take from a man any of the conditions which make him happy and strong
is to cripple his industry, generally speaking. But those relatives who
make him happy are not therefore his business partners, and entitled to
share his income.

Grateful return for happiness conferred is not the method of exchange in
a partnership. The comfort a man takes with his wife is not in the
nature of a business partnership, nor are her frugality and industry. A
housekeeper, in her place, might be as frugal, as industrious, but would
not therefore be a partner. Man and wife are partners truly in their
mutual obligation to their children,—their common love, duty, and
service. But a manufacturer who marries, or a doctor, or a lawyer, does
not take a partner in his business, when he takes a partner in
parenthood, unless his wife is also a manufacturer, a doctor, or a
lawyer. In his business, she cannot even advise wisely without training
and experience. To love her husband, the composer, does not enable her
to compose; and the loss of a man’s wife, though it may break his heart,
does not cripple his business, unless his mind is affected by grief. She
is in no sense a business partner, unless she contributes capital or
experience or labor, as a man would in like relation. Most men would
hesitate very seriously before entering a business partnership with any
woman, wife or not.

If the wife is not, then, truly a business partner, in what way does she
earn from her husband the food, clothing, and shelter she receives at
his hands? By house service, it will be instantly replied. This is the
general misty idea upon the subject,—that women earn all they get, and
more, by house service. Here we come to a very practical and definite
economic ground. Although not producers of wealth, women serve in the
final processes of preparation and distribution. Their labor in the
household has a genuine economic value.

For a certain percentage of persons to serve other persons, in order
that the ones so served may produce more, is a contribution not to be
overlooked. The labor of women in the house, certainly, enables men to
produce more wealth than they otherwise could; and in this way women are
economic factors in society. But so are horses. The labor of horses
enables men to produce more wealth than they otherwise could. The horse
is an economic factor in society. But the horse is not economically
independent, nor is the woman. If a man plus a valet can perform more
useful service than he could minus a valet, then the valet is performing
useful service. But, if the valet is the property of the man, is obliged
to perform this service, and is not paid for it, he is not economically

The labor which the wife performs in the household is given as part of
her functional duty, not as employment. The wife of the poor man, who
works hard in a small house, doing all the work for the family, or the
wife of the rich man, who wisely and gracefully manages a large house
and administers its functions, each is entitled to fair pay for services

To take this ground and hold it honestly, wives, as earners through
domestic service, are entitled to the wages of cooks, housemaids,
nursemaids, seamstresses, or housekeepers, and to no more. This would of
course reduce the spending money of the wives of the rich, and put it
out of the power of the poor man to “support” a wife at all, unless,
indeed, the poor man faced the situation fully, paid his wife her wages
as house servant, and then she and he combined their funds in the
support of their children. He would be keeping a servant: she would be
helping keep the family. But nowhere on earth would there be “a rich
woman” by these means. Even the highest class of private housekeeper,
useful as her services are, does not accumulate a fortune. She does not
buy diamonds and sables and keep a carriage. Things like these are not
earned by house service.

But the salient fact in this discussion is that, whatever the economic
value of the domestic industry of women is, they do not get it. The
women who do the most work get the least money, and the women who have
the most money do the least work. Their labor is neither given nor taken
as a factor in economic exchange. It is held to be their duty as women
to do this work; and their economic status bears no relation to their
domestic labors, unless an inverse one. Moreover, if they were thus
fairly paid,—given what they earned, and—no more,—all women working in
this way would be reduced to the economic status of the house servant.
Few women—or men either—care to face this condition. The ground that
women earn their living by domestic labor is instantly forsaken, and we
are told that they obtain their livelihood as mothers. This is a
peculiar position. We speak of it commonly enough, and often with deep
feeling, but without due analysis.

In treating of an economic exchange, asking what return in goods or
labor women make for the goods and labor given them,—either to the race
collectively or to their husbands individually,—what payment women make
for their clothes and shoes and furniture and food and shelter, we are
told that the duties and services of the mother entitle her to support.

If this is so, if motherhood is an exchangeable commodity given by women
in payment for clothes and food, then we must of course find some
relation between the quantity or quality of the motherhood and the
quantity and quality of the pay. This being true, then the women who are
not mothers have no economic status at all; and the economic status of
those who are must be shown to be relative to their motherhood. This is
obviously absurd. The childless wife has as much money as the mother of
many,—more; for the children of the latter consume what would otherwise
be hers; and the inefficient mother is no less provided for than the
efficient one. Visibly, and upon the face of it, women are not
maintained in economic prosperity proportioned to their motherhood.
Motherhood bears no relation to their economic status. Among primitive
races, it is true,—in the patriarchal period, for instance,—there was
some truth in this position. Women being of no value whatever save as
bearers of children, their favor and indulgence did bear direct relation
to maternity; and they had reason to exult on more grounds than one when
they could boast a son. To-day, however, the maintenance of the woman is
not conditioned upon this. A man is not allowed to discard his wife
because she is barren. The claim of motherhood as a factor in economic
exchange is false to-day. But suppose it were true. Are we willing to
hold this ground, even in theory? Are we willing to consider motherhood
as a business, a form of commercial exchange? Are the cares and duties
of the mother, her travail and her love, commodities to be exchanged for

It is revolting so to consider them; and, if we dare face our own
thoughts, and force them to their logical conclusion, we shall see that
nothing could be more repugnant to human feeling, or more socially and
individually injurious, than to make motherhood a trade. Driven off
these alleged grounds of women’s economic independence; shown that
women, as a class, neither produce nor distribute wealth; that women, as
individuals, labor mainly as house servants, are not paid as such, and
would not be satisfied with such an economic status if they were so
paid; that wives are not business partners or co-producers of wealth
with their husbands, unless they actually practise the same profession;
that they are not salaried as mothers, and that it would be unspeakably
degrading if they were,—what remains to those who deny that women are
supported by men? This (and a most amusing position it is),—that the
function of maternity unfits a woman for economic production, and,
therefore, it is right that she should be supported by her husband.

The ground is taken that the human female is not economically
independent, that she is fed by the male of her species. In denial of
this, it is first alleged that she is economically independent,—that she
does support herself by her own industry in the house. It being shown
that there is no relation between the economic status of woman and the
labor she performs in the home, it is then alleged that not as house
servant, but as mother, does woman earn her living. It being shown that
the economic status of woman bears no relation to her motherhood, either
in quantity or quality, it is then alleged that motherhood renders a
woman unfit for economic production, and that, therefore, it is right
that she be supported by her husband. Before going farther, let us seize
upon this admission,—that she _is_ supported by her husband.

Without going into either the ethics or the necessities of the case, we
have reached so much common ground: the female of genus homo is
supported by the male. Whereas, in other species of animals, male and
female alike graze and browse, hunt and kill, climb, swim, dig, run, and
fly for their livings, in our species the female does not seek her own
living in the specific activities of our race, but is fed by the male.

Now as to the alleged necessity. Because of her maternal duties, the
human female is said to be unable to get her own living. As the maternal
duties of other females do not unfit them for getting their own living
and also the livings of their young, it would seem that the human
maternal duties require the segregation of the entire energies of the
mother to the service of the child during her entire adult life, or so
large a proportion of them that not enough remains to devote to the
individual interests of the mother.

Such a condition, did it exist, would of course excuse and justify the
pitiful dependence of the human female, and her support by the male. As
the queen bee, modified entirely to maternity, is supported, not by the
male, to be sure, but by her co-workers, the “old maids,” the barren
working bees, who labor so patiently and lovingly in their branch of the
maternal duties of the hive, so would the human female, modified
entirely to maternity, become unfit for any other exertion, and a
helpless dependant.

Is this the condition of human motherhood? Does the human mother, by her
motherhood, thereby lose control of brain and body, lose power and skill
and desire for any other work? Do we see before us the human race, with
all its females segregated entirely to the uses of motherhood,
consecrated, set apart, specially developed, spending every power of
their nature on the service of their children?

We do not. We see the human mother worked far harder than a mare,
laboring her life long in the service, not of her children only, but of
men; husbands, brothers, fathers, whatever male relatives she has; for
mother and sister also; for the church a little, if she is allowed; for
society, if she is able; for charity and education and reform,—working
in many ways that are not the ways of motherhood.

It is not motherhood that keeps the housewife on her feet from dawn till
dark; it is house service, not child service. Women work longer and
harder than most men, and not solely in maternal duties. The savage
mother carries the burdens, and does all menial service for the tribe.
The peasant mother toils in the fields, and the workingman’s wife in the
home. Many mothers, even now, are wage-earners for the family, as well
as bearers and rearers of it. And the women who are not so occupied, the
women who belong to rich men,—here perhaps is the exhaustive devotion to
maternity which is supposed to justify an admitted economic dependence.
But we do not find it even among these. Women of ease and wealth provide
for their children better care than the poor woman can; but they do not
spend more time upon it themselves, nor more care and effort. They have
other occupation.

In spite of her supposed segregation to maternal duties, the human
female, the world over, works at extra-maternal duties for hours enough
to provide her with an independent living, and then is denied
independence on the ground that motherhood prevents her working!

If this ground were tenable, we should find a world full of women who
never lifted a finger save in the service of their children, and of men
who did _all_ the work besides, and waited on the women whom motherhood
prevented from waiting on themselves. The ground is not tenable. A human
female, healthy, sound, has twenty-five years of life before she is a
mother, and should have twenty-five years more after the period of such
maternal service as is expected of her has been given. The duties of
grandmotherhood are surely not alleged as preventing economic

The working power of the mother has always been a prominent factor in
human life. She is the worker _par excellence_, but her work is not such
as to affect her economic status. Her living, all that she gets,—food,
clothing, ornaments, amusements, luxuries,—these bear no relation to her
power to produce wealth, to her services in the house, or to her
motherhood. These things bear relation only to the man she marries, the
man she depends on,—to how much he has and how much he is willing to
give her. The women whose splendid extravagance dazzles the world, whose
economic goods are the greatest, are often neither houseworkers nor
mothers, but simply the women who hold most power over the men who have
the most money. The female of genus homo is economically dependent on
the male. He is her food supply.


Knowing how important a factor in the evolution of species is the
economic relation, and finding in the human species an economic relation
so peculiar, we may naturally look to find effects peculiar to our race.
We may expect to find phenomena in the sex-relation and in the economic
relation of humanity of a unique character,—phenomena not traceable to
human superiority, but singularly derogatory to that superiority;
phenomena so marked, so morbid, as to give rise to much speculation as
to their cause. Are these natural inferences fulfilled? Are these
peculiarities in the sex-relation and in the economic relation
manifested in human life? Indisputably these are,—so plain, so
prominent, so imperiously demanding attention, that human thought has
been occupied from its first consciousness in trying some way to account
for them. To explain and relate these phenomena, separating what is due
to normal race-development from what is due to this abnormal
sexuo-economic relation, is the purpose of the line of study here

As the racial distinction of humanity lies in its social relation, so we
find the distinctive gains and losses of humanity to lie also in its
social relation. We are more affected by our relation to each other than
by our physical environment.

Disadvantages of climate, deficiencies in food supply, competition from
other species,—all these conditions society, in its organic strength, is
easily able to overcome or to adjust. But in our inter-human relations
we are not so successful. The serious dangers and troubles of human life
arise from difficulties of adjustment with our social environment, and
not with our physical environment. These difficulties, so far, have
acted as a continual check to social progress. The more absolutely a
nation has triumphed over physical conditions, the more successful it
has become in its conquest of physical enemies and obstacles, the more
it has given rein to the action of social forces which have ultimately
destroyed the nation, and left the long ascent to be begun again by

            There is the moral of all human tales:
            ’Tis but the same rehearsal of the past,—
            First Freedom, and then Glory; when that fails,
            Wealth, Vice, Corruption,—barbarism at last.
            And History, with all her volumes vast,
            Hath but _one_ page.[1]

Footnote 1:

  Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, Canto IV., CVIII.

The path of history is strewn with fossils and faint relics of extinct
races,—races which died of what the sociologist would call internal
diseases rather than natural causes. This, too, has been clear to the
observer in all ages. It has been easily seen that there was something
in our own behavior which did us more harm than any external difficulty;
but what we have not seen is the natural cause of our unnatural conduct,
and how most easily to alter it.

Rudely classifying the principal fields of human difficulty, we find one
large proportion lies in the sex-relation, and another in the economic
relation, between the individual constituents of society. To speak
broadly, the troubles of life as we find them are mainly traceable to
the heart or the purse. The other horror of our lives—disease—comes back
often to these causes,—to something wrong either in economic relation or
in sex-relation. To be ill-fed or ill-bred, or both, is largely what
makes us the sickly race we are. In this wrong breeding, this
maladjustment of the sex-relation in humanity, what are the principal
features? We see in social evolution two main lines of action in this
department of life. One is a gradual orderly development of monogamous
marriage, as the form of sex-union best calculated to advance the
interests of the individual and of society. It should be clearly
understood that this is a natural development, inevitable in the course
of social progress; not an artificial condition, enforced by laws of our
making. Monogamy is found among birds and mammals: it is just as natural
a condition as polygamy or promiscuity or any other form of sex-union;
and its permanence and integrity are introduced and increased by the
needs of the young and the advantage to the race, just as any other form
of reproduction was introduced. Our moral concepts rest primarily on
facts. The moral quality of monogamous marriage depends on its true
advantage to the individual and to society. If it were not the best form
of marriage for our racial good, it would not be right. All the way up,
from the promiscuous horde of savages, with their miscellaneous matings,
to the lifelong devotion of romantic love, social life has been evolving
a type of sex-union best suited to develope and improve the individual
and the race. This is an orderly process, and a pleasant one, involving
only such comparative pain and difficulty as always attend the
assumption of new processes and the extinction of the old; but
accompanied by far more joy than pain.

But with the natural process of social advancement has gone an unnatural
process,—an erratic and morbid action, making the sex-relation of
humanity a frightful source of evil. So prominent have been these morbid
actions and evil results that hasty thinkers of all ages have assumed
that the whole thing was wrong, and that celibacy was the highest
virtue. Without the power of complete analysis, without knowledge of the
sociological data essential to such analysis, we have sweepingly
condemned as a whole what we could easily see was so allied with pain
and loss. But, like all natural phenomena, the phenomena of sex may be
studied, both the normal and the abnormal, the physiological and the
pathological; and we are quite capable of understanding why we are in
such evil case, and how we may attain more healthful conditions.

So far, the study of this subject has rested on the assumption that man
must be just as we find him, that man behaves just as he chooses, and
that, if he does not choose to behave as he does, he can stop.
Therefore, when we discovered that human behavior in the sex-relation
was productive of evil, we exhorted the human creature to stop so
behaving, and have continued so to exhort for many centuries. By law and
religion, by education and custom, we have sought to enforce upon the
human individual the kind of behavior which our social sense so clearly
showed was right.

But always there has remained the morbid action. Whatever the external
form of sex-union to which we have given social sanction, however Bible
and Koran and Vedas have offered instruction, some hidden cause has
operated continuously against the true course of social evolution, to
pervert the natural trend toward a higher and more advantageous
sex-relation; and to maintain lower forms, and erratic phases, of a most
disadvantageous character.

Every other animal works out the kind of sex-union best adapted to the
reproduction of his species, and peacefully practises it. We have worked
out the kind that is best for us,—best for the individuals concerned,
for the young resultant, and for society as a whole; but we do not
peacefully practise it. So palpable is this fact that we have commonly
accepted it, and taken it for granted that this relation must be a
continuous source of trouble to humanity. “Marriage is a lottery,” is a
common saying among us. “The course of true love never did run smooth.”
And we quote with unction _Punch’s_ advice to those about to
marry,—“Don’t!” That peculiar sub-relation which has dragged along with
us all the time that monogamous marriage has been growing to be the
accepted form of sex-union—prostitution—we have accepted, and called a
“social necessity.” We also call it “the social evil.” We have tacitly
admitted that this relation in the human race must be more or less
uncomfortable and wrong, that it is part of our nature to have it so.

Now let us examine the case fairly and calmly, and see whether it is as
inscrutable and immutable as hitherto believed. What are the conditions?
What are the natural and what the unnatural features of the case? To
distinguish these involves a little study of the evolution of the
processes of reproduction.

Very early in the development of species it was ascertained by nature’s
slow but sure experiments that the establishment of two sexes in
separate organisms, and their differentiation, was to the advantage of
the species. Therefore, out of the mere protoplasmic masses, the
floating cells, the amorphous early forms of life, grew into use the
distinction of the sexes,—the gradual development of masculine and
feminine organs and functions in two distinct organisms. Developed and
increased by use, the distinction of sex increased in the evolution of
species. As the distinction increased, the attraction increased, until
we have in all the higher races two markedly different sexes, strongly
drawn together by the attraction of sex, and fulfilling their use in the
reproduction of species. These are the natural features of
sex-distinction and sex-union, and they are found in the human species
as in others. The unnatural feature by which our race holds an
unenviable distinction consists mainly in this,—a morbid excess in the
exercise of this function.

It is this excess, whether in marriage or out, which makes the health
and happiness of humanity in this relation so precarious. It is this
excess, always easily seen, which law and religion have mainly striven
to check. Excessive sex-indulgence is the distinctive feature of
humanity in this relation.

To define “excess” in this connection is not difficult. All natural
functions that require our conscious co-operation for their fulfilment
are urged upon our notice by an imperative desire. We do not have to
desire to breathe or to digest or to circulate the blood, because that
is done without our volition; but we do have to desire to eat and drink,
because the stomach cannot obtain its supplies without in some way
spurring the whole organism to secure them. So hunger is given us as an
essential factor in our process of nutrition. In the same manner
sex-attraction is an essential factor in the fulfilment of our processes
of reproduction. In a normal condition the amount of hunger we feel is
exactly proportioned to the amount of food we need. It tells us when to
eat and when to stop. In some diseased conditions “an unnatural
appetite” sets in; and we are impelled to eat far beyond the capacity of
the stomach to digest, of the body to assimilate. This is an excessive

We, as a race, manifest an excessive sex-attraction, followed by its
excessive indulgence, and the inevitable evil consequence. It urges us
to a degree of indulgence which bears no relation to the original needs
of the organism, and which is even so absurdly exaggerated as to react
unfavorably on the incidental gratification involved; an excess which
tends to pervert and exhaust desire as well as to injure reproduction.

The human animal manifests an excess in sex-attraction which not only
injures the race through its morbid action on the natural processes of
reproduction, but which injures the happiness of the individual through
its morbid reaction on his own desires.

What is the cause of this excessive sex-attraction in the human species?
The immediately acting cause of sex-attraction is sex-distinction. The
more widely the sexes are differentiated, the more forcibly they are
attracted to each other. The more highly developed becomes the
distinction of sex in either organism, the more intense is its
attraction for the other. In the human species we find sex-distinction
carried to an excessive degree. Sex-distinction in humanity is so marked
as to retard and confuse race-distinction, to check individual
distinction, seriously to injure the race. Accustomed as we are simply
to accept the facts of life as we find them, to consider people as
permanent types instead of seeing them and the whole race in continual
change according to the action of many forces, it seems strange at first
to differentiate between familiar manifestations of sex-distinction, and
to say: “This is normal, and should not be disturbed. This is abnormal,
and should be removed.” But that is precisely what must be done.

Normal sex-distinction manifests itself in all species in what are
called primary and secondary sex-characteristics. The primary are
those organs and functions essential to reproduction; the secondary,
those modifications of structure and function which subserve the uses
of reproduction ultimately, but are not directly essential,—such as
the horns of the stag, of use in sex-combat; the plumage of the
peacock, of use in sex-competition. All the minor characteristics of
beard or mane, comb, wattles, spurs, gorgeous color or superior size,
which distinguish the male from the female,—these are distinctions of
sex. These distinctions are of use to the species through reproduction
only, the processes of race-preservation. They are not of use in
self-preservation. The creature is not profited personally by his mane
or crest or tail-feathers: they do not help him get his dinner or kill
his enemies.

On the contrary, they react unfavorably upon his personal gains, if,
through too great development, they interfere with his activity or
render him a conspicuous mark for enemies. Such development would
constitute excessive sex-distinction, and this is precisely the
condition of the human race. Our distinctions of sex are carried to such
a degree as to be disadvantageous to our progress as individuals and as
a race. The sexes in our species are differentiated not only enough to
perform their primal functions; not only enough to manifest all
sufficient secondary sexual characteristics and fulfil their use in
giving rise to sufficient sex-attraction; but so much as seriously to
interfere with the processes of self-preservation on the one hand; and,
more conspicuous still, so much as to react unfavorably upon the very
processes of race-preservation which they are meant to serve. Our
excessive sex-distinction, manifesting the characteristics of sex to an
abnormal degree, has given rise to a degree of attraction which demands
a degree of indulgence that directly injures motherhood and fatherhood.
We are not better as parents, nor better as people, for our existing
degree of sex-distinction, but visibly worse. To what conditions are we
to look for the developing cause of these phenomena?

Let us first examine the balance of forces by which these two great
processes, self-preservation and race-preservation, are conducted in the
world. Self-preservation involves the expenditure of energy in those
acts, and their ensuing modifications of structure and function, which
tend to the maintenance of the individual life. Race-preservation
involves the expenditure of energy in those acts, and their ensuing
modifications of structure and function, which tend to the maintenance
of the racial life, even to the complete sacrifice of the individual.
This primal distinction should be clearly held in mind.
Self-preservation and race-preservation are in no way identical
processes, and are often directly opposed. In the line of
self-preservation, natural selection, acting on the individual,
developes those characteristics which enable it to succeed in “the
struggle for existence,” increasing by use those organs and functions by
which it directly profits. In the line of race-preservation, sexual
selection, acting on the individual, developes those characteristics
which enable it to succeed in what Drummond has called “the struggle for
the existence of others,” increasing by use those organs and functions
by which its young are to profit, directly or indirectly. The individual
has been not only modified to its environment, under natural selection,
but modified to its mate, under sexual selection, each sex developing
the qualities desired by the other by the simple process of choice,
those best sexed being first chosen, and transmitting their
sex-development as well as their racial development.

The order mammalia is the resultant of a primary sex-distinction
developed by natural selection; but the gorgeous plumage of the
peacock’s tail is a secondary sex-distinction developed by sexual
selection. If the peacock’s tail were to increase in size and splendor
till it shone like the sun and covered an acre,—if it tended so to
increase, we will say,—such excessive sex-distinction would be so
inimical to the personal prosperity of that peacock that he would die,
and his tail-tendency would perish with him. If the pea-hen, conversely,
whose sex-distinction attracts in the opposite direction, not by being
large and splendid, but small and dull,—if she should grow so small and
dull as to fail to keep herself and her young fed and defended, then she
would die; and there would be another check to excessive
sex-distinction. In herds of deer and cattle the male is larger and
stronger, the female smaller and weaker; but, unless the latter is large
and strong enough to keep up with the male in the search for food or the
flight from foes, one is taken and the other left, and there is no more
of that kind of animal. Differ as they may in sex, they must remain
alike in species, equal in race-development, else destruction overtakes
them. The force of natural selection, demanding and producing identical
race-qualities, acts as a check on sexual selection, with its production
of different sex-qualities. As sexes, they perform different functions,
and therefore tend to develope differently. As species, they perform the
same functions, and therefore tend to develope equally.

And as sex-functions are only used occasionally, and race-functions are
used all the time,—as they mate but yearly or tri-monthly, but eat daily
and hourly,—the processes of obtaining food or of opposing constant
enemies act more steadily than the processes of reproduction, and
produce greater effect.

We find the order mammalia accordingly producing and suckling its young
in the same manner through a wide variety of species which obtain their
living in a different manner. The calf and colt and cub and kitten are
produced by the same process; but the cow and horse, the bear and cat,
are produced by different processes. And, though cow and bull, mare and
stallion, differ as to sex, they are alike in species; and the likeness
in species is greater than the difference in sex. Cow, mare, and cat are
all females of the order mammalia, and so far alike; but how much more
different they are than similar!

Natural selection develops race. Sexual selection develops sex.
Sex-development is one throughout its varied forms, tending only to
reproduce what is. But race-development rises ever in higher and higher
manifestation of energy. As sexes, we share our distinction with the
animal kingdom almost to the beginning of life, and with the vegetable
world as well. As races, we differ in ascending degree; and the human
race stands highest in the scale of life so far.

When, then, it can be shown that sex-distinction in the human race is so
excessive as not only to affect injuriously its own purposes, but to
check and pervert the progress of the race, it becomes a matter for most
serious consideration. Nothing could be more inevitable, however, under
our sexuo-economic relation. By the economic dependence of the human
female upon the male, the balance of forces is altered. Natural
selection no longer checks the action of sexual selection, but
co-operates with it. Where both sexes obtain their food through the same
exertions, from the same sources, under the same conditions, both sexes
are acted upon alike, and developed alike by their environment. Where
the two sexes obtain their food under different conditions, and where
that difference consists in one of them being fed by the other, then the
feeding sex becomes the environment of the fed. Man, in supporting
woman, has become her economic environment. Under natural selection,
every creature is modified to its environment, developing perforce the
qualities needed to obtain its livelihood under that environment. Man,
as the feeder of woman, becomes the strongest modifying force in her
economic condition. Under sexual selection the human creature is of
course modified to its mate, as with all creatures. When the mate
becomes also the master, when economic necessity is added to
sex-attraction, we have the two great evolutionary forces acting
together to the same end; namely, to develope sex-distinction in the
human female. For, in her position of economic dependence in the
sex-relation, sex-distinction is with her not only a means of attracting
a mate, as with all creatures, but a means of getting her livelihood, as
is the case with no other creature under heaven. Because of the economic
dependence of the human female on her mate, she is modified to sex to an
excessive degree. This excessive modification she transmits to her
children; and so is steadily implanted in the human constitution the
morbid tendency to excess in this relation, which has acted so
universally upon us in all ages, in spite of our best efforts to
restrain it. It is not the normal sex-tendency, common to all creatures,
but an abnormal sex-tendency, produced and maintained by the abnormal
economic relation which makes one sex get its living from the other by
the exercise of sex-functions. This is the immediate effect upon
individuals of the peculiar sexuo-economic relation which obtains among


In establishing the claim of excessive sex-distinction in the human
race, much needs to be said to make clear to the general reader what is
meant by the term. To the popular mind, both the coarsely familiar and
the over-refined, “sexual” is thought to mean “sensual”; and the charge
of excessive sex-distinction seems to be a reproach. This should be at
once dismissed, as merely showing ignorance of the terms used. A man
does not object to being called “masculine,” nor a woman to being called
“feminine.” Yet whatever is masculine or feminine is sexual. To be
distinguished by femininity is to be distinguished by sex. To be
over-feminine is to be over-sexed. To manifest in excess any of the
distinctions of sex, primary or secondary, is to be over-sexed. Our
hypothetical peacock, with his too large and splendid tail, would be
over-sexed, and no offence to his moral character!

The primary sex-distinctions in our race as in others consist merely in
the essential organs and functions of reproduction. The secondary
distinctions, and this is where we are to look for our largest
excess—consist in all those differences in organ and function, in look
and action, in habit, manner, method, occupation, behavior, which
distinguish men from women. In a troop of horses, seen at a distance,
the sexes are indistinguishable. In a herd of deer the males are
distinguishable because of their antlers. The male lion is distinguished
by his mane, the male cat only by a somewhat heavier build. In certain
species of insects the male and female differ so widely in appearance
that even naturalists have supposed them to belong to separate species.
Beyond these distinctions lies that of conduct. Certain psychic
attributes are manifested by either sex. The intensity of the maternal
passion is a sex-distinction as much as the lion’s mane or the stag’s
horns. The belligerence and dominance of the male is a sex-distinction:
the modesty and timidity of the female is a sex-distinction. The
tendency to “sit” is a sex-distinction of the hen: the tendency to strut
is a sex-distinction of the cock. The tendency to fight is a
sex-distinction of males in general: the tendency to protect and provide
for, is a sex-distinction of females in general.

With the human race, whose chief activities are social, the initial
tendency to sex-distinction is carried out in many varied functions. We
have differentiated our industries, our responsibilities, our very
virtues, along sex lines. It will therefore be clear that the claim of
excessive sex-distinction in humanity, and especially in woman, does not
carry with it any specific “moral” reproach, though it does in the
larger sense prove a decided evil in its effect on human progress.

In primary distinctions our excess is not so marked as in the farther
and subtler development; yet, even here, we have plain proof of it.
Sex-energy in its primal manifestation is exhibited in the male of the
human species to a degree far greater than is necessary for the
processes of reproduction,—enough, indeed, to subvert and injure those
processes. The direct injury to reproduction from the excessive
indulgence of the male, and the indirect injury through its debilitating
effect upon the female, together with the enormous evil to society
produced by extra-marital indulgence,—these are facts quite generally
known. We have recognized them for centuries, and sought to check the
evil action by law, civil, social, moral. But we have treated it always
as a field of voluntary action, not as a condition of morbid
development. We have held it as right that man should be so, but wrong
that man should do so. Nature does not work in that way. What it is
right to be, it is right to do. What it is wrong to do, it is wrong to
be. This inordinate demand in the human male is an excessive
sex-distinction. In this, in a certain over-coarseness and hardness, a
too great belligerence and pride, a too great subservience to the power
of sex-attraction, we find the main marks of excessive sex-distinction
in men. It has been always checked and offset in them by the healthful
activities of racial life. Their energies have been called out and their
faculties developed along all the lines of human progress. In the growth
of industry, commerce, science, manufacture, government, art, religion,
the male of our species has become human, far more than male. Strong as
this passion is in him, inordinate as is his indulgence, he is a far
more normal animal than the female of his species,—far less over-sexed.
To him this field of special activity is but part of life,—an incident.
The whole world remains besides. To her it is the world. This has been
well stated in the familiar epigram of Madame de Staël,—“Love with man
is an episode, with woman a history.” It is in woman that we find most
fully expressed the excessive sex-distinction of the human
species,—physical, psychical, social. See first the physical

To make clear by an instance the difference between normal and abnormal
sex-distinction, look at the relative condition of a wild cow and a
“milch cow,” such as we have made. The wild cow is a female. She has
healthy calves, and milk enough for them; and that is all the femininity
she needs. Otherwise than that she is bovine rather than feminine. She
is a light, strong, swift, sinewy creature, able to run, jump, and
fight, if necessary. We, for economic uses, have artificially developed
the cow’s capacity for producing milk. She has become a walking
milk-machine, bred and tended to that express end, her value measured in
quarts. The secretion of milk is a maternal function,—a sex-function.
The cow is over-sexed. Turn her loose in natural conditions, and, if she
survive the change, she would revert in a very few generations to the
plain cow, with her energies used in the general activities of her race,
and not all running to milk.

Physically, woman belongs to a tall, vigorous, beautiful animal species,
capable of great and varied exertion. In every race and time when she
has opportunity for racial activity, she developes accordingly, and is
no less a woman for being a healthy human creature. In every race and
time where she is denied this opportunity,—and few, indeed, have been
her years of freedom,—she has developed in the lines of action to which
she was confined; and those were always lines of sex-activity. In
consequence the body of woman, speaking in the largest generalization,
manifests sex-distinction predominantly.

Woman’s femininity—and “the eternal feminine” means simply the eternal
sexual—is more apparent in proportion to her humanity than the
femininity of other animals in proportion to their caninity or felinity
or equinity. “A feminine hand” or “a feminine foot” is distinguishable
anywhere. We do not hear of “a feminine paw” or “a feminine hoof.” A
hand is an organ of prehension, a foot an organ of locomotion: they are
not secondary sexual characteristics. The comparative smallness and
feebleness of woman is a sex-distinction. We have carried it to such an
excess that women are commonly known as “the weaker sex.” There is no
such glaring difference between male and female in other advanced
species. In the long migrations of birds, in the ceaseless motion of the
grazing herds that used to swing up and down over the continent each
year, in the wild, steep journeys of the breeding salmon, nothing is
heard of the weaker sex. And among the higher carnivora, where longer
maintenance of the young brings their condition nearer ours, the hunter
dreads the attack of the female more than that of the male. The
disproportionate weakness is an excessive sex-distinction. Its injurious
effect may be broadly shown in the Oriental nations, where the female in
curtained harems is confined most exclusively to sex-functions and
denied most fully the exercise of race-functions. In such peoples the
weakness, the tendency to small bones and adipose tissue of the
over-sexed female, is transmitted to the male, with a retarding effect
on the development of the race. Conversely, in early Germanic tribes the
comparatively free and humanly developed women—tall, strong, and
brave—transmitted to their sons a greater proportion of human power and
much less of morbid sex-tendency.

The degree of feebleness and clumsiness common to women, the comparative
inability to stand, walk, run, jump, climb, and perform other
race-functions common to both sexes, is an excessive sex-distinction;
and the ensuing transmission of this relative feebleness to their
children, boys and girls alike, retards human development. Strong, free,
active women, the sturdy, field-working peasant, the burden-bearing
savage, are no less good mothers for their human strength. But our
civilized “feminine delicacy,” which appears somewhat less delicate when
recognized as an expression of sexuality in excess,—makes us no better
mothers, but worse. The relative weakness of women is a sex-distinction.
It is apparent in her to a degree that injures motherhood, that injures
wifehood, that injures the individual. The sex-usefulness and the human
usefulness of women, their general duty to their kind, are greatly
injured by this degree of distinction. In every way the over-sexed
condition of the human female reacts unfavorably upon herself, her
husband, her children, and the race.

In its psychic manifestation this intense sex-distinction is equally
apparent. The primal instinct of sex-attraction has developed under
social forces into a conscious passion of enormous power, a deep and
lifelong devotion, overwhelming in its force. This is excessive in both
sexes, but more so in women than in men,—not so commonly in its simple
physical form, but in the unreasoning intensity of emotion that refuses
all guidance, and drives those possessed by it to risk every other good
for this one end. It is not at first sight easy, and it may seem an
irreverent and thankless task, to discriminate here between what is good
in the “master passion” and what is evil, and especially to claim for
one sex more of this feeling than for the other; but such discrimination
can be made.

It is good for the individual and for the race to have developed such a
degree of passionate and permanent love as shall best promote the
happiness of individuals and the reproduction of species. It is not good
for the race or for the individual that this feeling should have become
so intense as to override all other human faculties, to make a mock of
the accumulated wisdom of the ages, the stored power of the will; to
drive the individual—against his own plain conviction—into a union sure
to result in evil, or to hold the individual helpless in such an evil
union, when made.

Such is the condition of humanity, involving most evil results to its
offspring and to its own happiness. And, while in men the immediate
dominating force of the passion may be more conspicuous, it is in women
that it holds more universal sway. For the man has other powers and
faculties in full use, whereby to break loose from the force of this;
and the woman, specially modified to sex and denied racial activity,
pours her whole life into her love, and, if injured here, she is injured
irretrievably. With him it is frequently light and transient, and, when
most intense, often most transient. With her it is a deep, all-absorbing
force, under the action of which she will renounce all that life offers,
take any risk, face any hardships, bear any pain. It is maintained in
her in the face of a lifetime of neglect and abuse. The common instance
of the police court trials—the woman cruelly abused who will not testify
against her husband—shows this. This devotion, carried to such a degree
as to lead to the mismating of individuals with its personal and social
injury, is an excessive sex-distinction.

But it is in our common social relations that the predominance of
sex-distinction in women is made most manifest. The fact that, speaking
broadly, women have, from the very beginning, been spoken of
expressively enough as “the sex,” demonstrates clearly that this is the
main impression which they have made upon observers and recorders. Here
one need attempt no farther proof than to turn the mind of the reader to
an unbroken record of facts and feelings perfectly patent to every one,
but not hitherto looked at as other than perfectly natural and right. So
utterly has the status of woman been accepted as a sexual one that it
has remained for the woman’s movement of the nineteenth century to
devote much contention to the claim that women are persons! That women
are persons as well as females,—an unheard of proposition!

In a “Handbook of Proverbs of All Nations,” a collection comprising many
thousands, these facts are to be observed: first, that the proverbs
concerning women are an insignificant minority compared to those
concerning men; second, that the proverbs concerning women almost
invariably apply to them in general,—to the sex. Those concerning men
qualify, limit, describe, specialize. It is “a lazy man,” “a violent
man,” “a man in his cups.” Qualities and actions are predicated of man
individually, and not as a sex, unless he is flatly contrasted with
woman, as in “A man of straw is worth a woman of gold,” “Men are deeds,
women are words,” or “Man, woman, and the devil are the three degrees of
comparison.” But of woman it is always and only “a woman,” meaning
simply a female, and recognizing no personal distinction: “As much pity
to see a woman weep as to see a goose go barefoot.” “He that hath an eel
by the tail and a woman by her word hath a slippery handle.” “A woman, a
spaniel, and a walnut-tree,—the more you beat ’em, the better they be.”
Occasionally a distinction is made between “a fair woman” and “a black
woman”; and Solomon’s “virtuous woman,” who commanded such a high price,
is familiar to us all. But in common thought it is simply “a woman”
always. The boast of the profligate that he knows “the sex,” so recently
expressed by a new poet,—“The things you will learn from the Yellow and
Brown, they’ll ’elp you an’ ’eap with the White”; the complaint of the
angry rejected that “all women are just alike!”—the consensus of public
opinion of all time goes to show that the characteristics common to the
sex have predominated over the characteristics distinctive of the
individual,—a marked excess in sex-distinction.

From the time our children are born, we use every means known to
accentuate sex-distinction in both boy and girl; and the reason that the
boy is not so hopelessly marked by it as the girl is that he has the
whole field of human expression open to him besides. In our steady
insistence on proclaiming sex-distinction we have grown to consider most
human attributes as masculine attributes, for the simple reason that
they were allowed to men and forbidden to women.

A clear and definite understanding of the difference between
race-attributes and sex-attributes should be established. Life consists
of action. The action of a living thing is along two main
lines,—self-preservation and race-preservation. The processes that keep
the individual alive, from the involuntary action of his internal organs
to the voluntary action of his external organs,—every act, from
breathing to hunting his food, which contributes to the maintenance of
the individual life,—these are the processes of self-preservation.
Whatever activities tend to keep the race alive, to reproduce the
individual, from the involuntary action of the internal organs to the
voluntary action of the external organs; every act from the development
of germ-cells to the taking care of children, which contributes to the
maintenance of the racial life,—these are the processes of
race-preservation. In race-preservation, male and female have
distinctive organs, distinctive functions, distinctive lines of action.
In self-preservation, male and female have the same organs, the same
functions, the same lines of action. In the human species our processes
of race-preservation have reached a certain degree of elaboration; but
our processes of self-preservation have gone farther, much farther.

All the varied activities of economic production and distribution, all
our arts and industries, crafts and trades, all our growth in science,
discovery, government, religion,—these are along the line of
self-preservation: these are, or should be, common to both sexes. To
teach, to rule, to make, to decorate, to distribute,—these are not
sex-functions: they are race-functions. Yet so inordinate is the
sex-distinction of the human race that the whole field of human progress
has been considered a masculine prerogative. What could more absolutely
prove the excessive sex-distinction of the human race? That this
difference should surge over all its natural boundaries and blazon
itself across every act of life, so that every step of the human
creature is marked “male” or “female,”—surely, this is enough to show
our over-sexed condition.

Little by little, very slowly, and with most unjust and cruel
opposition, at cost of all life holds most dear, it is being gradually
established by many martyrdoms that human work is woman’s as well as
man’s. Harriet Martineau must conceal her writing under her sewing when
callers came, because “to sew” was a feminine verb, and “to write” a
masculine one. Mary Somerville must struggle to hide her work from even
relatives, because mathematics was a “masculine” pursuit. Sex has been
made to dominate the whole human world,—all the main avenues of life
marked “male,” and the female left to be a female, and nothing else.

But while with the male the things he fondly imagined to be “masculine”
were merely human, and very good for him, with the female the few things
marked “feminine” were feminine, indeed; and her ceaseless reiterance of
one short song, however sweet, has given it a conspicuous monotony. In
garments whose main purpose is unmistakably to announce her sex; with a
tendency to ornament which marks exuberance of sex-energy, with a body
so modified to sex as to be grievously deprived of its natural
activities; with a manner and behavior wholly attuned to sex-advantage,
and frequently most disadvantageous to any human gain; with a field of
action most rigidly confined to sex-relations; with her overcharged
sensibility, her prominent modesty, her “eternal femininity,”—the female
of genus homo is undeniably over-sexed.

This excessive distinction shows itself again in a marked precocity of
development. Our little children, our very babies, show signs of it when
the young of other creatures are serenely asexual in general appearance
and habit. We eagerly note this precocity. We are proud of it. We
carefully encourage it by precept and example, taking pains to develope
the sex-instinct in little children, and think no harm. One of the first
things we force upon the child’s dawning consciousness is the fact that
he is a boy or that she is a girl, and that, therefore, each must regard
everything from a different point of view. They must be dressed
differently, not on account of their personal needs, which are exactly
similar at this period, but so that neither they, nor any one beholding
them, may for a moment forget the distinction of sex.

Our peculiar inversion of the usual habit of species, in which the male
carries ornament and the female is dark and plain, is not so much a
proof of excess indeed, as a proof of the peculiar reversal of our
position in the matter of sex-selection. With the other species the
males compete in ornament, and the females select. With us the females
compete in ornament, and the males select. If this theory of
sex-ornament is disregarded, and we prefer rather to see in masculine
decoration merely a form of exuberant sex-energy, expending itself in
non-productive excess, then, indeed, the fact that with us the females
manifest such a display of gorgeous adornment is another sign of
excessive sex-distinction. In either case the forcing upon girl-children
of an elaborate ornamentation which interferes with their physical
activity and unconscious freedom, and fosters a premature
sex-consciousness, is as clear and menacing a proof of our condition as
could be mentioned. That the girl-child should be so dressed as to
require a difference in care and behavior, resting wholly on the fact
that she is a girl,—a fact not otherwise present to her thought at that
age,—is a precocious insistence upon sex-distinction, most unwholesome
in its results. Boys and girls are expected, also, to behave differently
to each other, and to people in general,—a behavior to be briefly
described in two words. To the boy we say, “Do”; to the girl, “Don’t.”
The little boy must “take care” of the little girl, even if she is
larger than he is. “Why?” he asks. Because he is a boy. Because of sex.
Surely, if she is the stronger, she ought to take care of him,
especially as the protective instinct is purely feminine in a normal
race. It is not long before the boy learns his lesson. He is a boy,
going to be a man; and that means all. “I thank the Lord that I was not
born a woman,” runs the Hebrew prayer. She is a girl, “only a girl,”
“nothing but a girl,” and going to be a woman,—only a woman. Boys are
encouraged from the beginning to show the feelings supposed to be proper
to their sex. When our infant son bangs about, roars, and smashes
things, we say proudly that he is “a regular boy!” When our infant
daughter coquettes with visitors, or wails in maternal agony because her
brother has broken her doll, whose sawdust remains she nurses with
piteous care, we say proudly that “she is a perfect little mother
already!” What business has a little girl with the instincts of
maternity? No more than the little boy should have with the instincts of
paternity. They are sex-instincts, and should not appear till the period
of adolescence. The most normal girl is the “tom-boy,”—whose numbers
increase among us in these wiser days,—a healthy young creature, who is
human through and through, not feminine till it is time to be. The most
normal boy has calmness and gentleness as well as vigor and courage. He
is a human creature as well as a male creature, and not aggressively
masculine till it is time to be. Childhood is not the period for these
marked manifestations of sex. That we exhibit them, that we admire and
encourage them, shows our over-sexed condition.


Having seen the disproportionate degree of sex-distinction in humanity
and its greater manifestation in the female than in the male, and having
seen also the unique position of the human female as an economic
dependant on the male of her species, it is not difficult to establish a
relation between these two facts. The general law acting to produce this
condition of exaggerated sex-development was briefly referred to in the
second chapter. It is as follows: the natural tendency of any function
to increase in power by use causes sex-activity to increase under the
action of sexual selection. This tendency is checked in most species by
the I force of natural selection, which diverts the energies into other
channels and developes race-activities. Where the female finds her
economic environment in the male, and her economic advantage is directly
conditioned upon the sex-relation, the force of natural selection is
added to the force of sexual selection, and both together operate to
develope sex-activity. In any animal species, free from any other
condition, such a relation would have inevitably developed sex to an
inordinate degree, as may be readily seen in the comparatively similar
cases of those insects where the female, losing economic activity and
modified entirely to sex, becomes a mere egg-sac, an organism with no
powers of self-preservation, only those of race-preservation. With these
insects the only race-problem is to maintain and reproduce the species,
and such a condition is not necessarily evil; but with a race like ours,
whose development as human creatures is but comparatively begun, it is
evil because of its check to individual and racial progress. There are
other purposes before us besides mere maintenance and reproduction.

It should be clear to any one accustomed to the working of biological
laws that all the tendencies of a living organism are progressive in
their development, and are held in check by the interaction of their
several forces. Each living form, with its dominant characteristics,
represents a balance of power, a sort of compromise. The size of earth’s
primeval monsters was limited by the tensile strength of their material.
Sea monsters can be bigger, because the medium in which they move offers
more support. Birds must be smaller for the opposite reason. The cow
requires many stomachs of a liberal size, because her food is of low
nutritive value; and she must eat large quantities to keep her machine
going. The size of arboreal animals, such as monkeys or squirrels, is
limited by the nature of their habitat: creatures that live in trees
cannot be so big as creatures that live on the ground. Every quality of
every creature is relative to its condition, and tends to increase or
decrease accordingly; and each quality tends to increase in proportion
to its use, and to decrease in proportion to its disuse. Primitive man
and his female were animals, like other animals. They were strong,
fierce, lively beasts; and she was as nimble and ferocious as he, save
for the added belligerence of the males in their sex-competition. In
this competition, he, like the other male creatures, fought savagely
with his hairy rivals; and she, like the other female creatures,
complacently viewed their struggles, and mated with the victor. At other
times she ran about in the forest, and helped herself to what there was
to eat as freely as he did.

There seems to have come a time when it occurred to the dawning
intelligence of this amiable savage that it was cheaper and easier to
fight a little female, and have it done with, than to fight a big male
every time. So he instituted the custom of enslaving the female; and
she, losing freedom, could no longer get her own food nor that of her
young. The mother ape, with her maternal function well fulfilled, flees
leaping through the forest,—plucks her fruit and nuts, keeps up with the
movement of the tribe, her young one on her back or held in one strong
arm. But the mother woman, enslaved, could not do this. Then man, the
father, found that slavery had its obligations: he must care for what he
forbade to care for itself, else it died on his hands. So he slowly and
reluctantly shouldered the duties of his new position. He began to feed
her, and not only that, but to express in his own person the thwarted
uses of maternity: he had to feed the children, too. It seems a simple
arrangement. When we have thought of it at all, we have thought of it
with admiration. The naturalist defends it on the ground of advantage to
the species through the freeing of the mother from all other cares and
confining her unreservedly to the duties of maternity. The poet and
novelist, the painter and sculptor, the priest and teacher, have all
extolled this lovely relation. It remains for the sociologist, from a
biological point of view, to note its effects on the constitution of the
human race, both in the individual and in society.

When man began to feed and defend woman, she ceased proportionately to
teed and defend herself. When he stood between her and her physical
environment, she ceased proportionately to feel the influence of that
environment and respond to it. When he became her immediate and
all-important environment, she began proportionately to respond to this
new influence and to be modified accordingly. In a free state, speed was
of as great advantage to the female as to the male, both in enabling her
to catch prey and in preventing her from being caught by enemies; but,
in her new condition, speed was a disadvantage. She was not allowed to
do the catching, and it profited her to be caught by her new master.
Free creatures, getting their own food and maintaining their own lives,
develope an active capacity for attaining their ends. Parasitic
creatures, whose living is obtained by the exertions of others, develope
powers of absorption and of tenacity,—the powers by which they profit
most. The human female was cut off from the direct action of natural
selection, that mighty force which heretofore had acted on male and
female alike with inexorable and beneficial effect, developing strength,
developing skill, developing endurance, developing courage,—in a word,
developing species. She now met the influence of natural selection
acting indirectly through the male, and developing, of course, the
faculties required to secure and obtain a hold on him. Needless to state
that these faculties were those of sex-attraction, the one power that
has made him cheerfully maintain, in what luxury he could, the being in
whom he delighted. For many, many centuries she had no other hold, no
other assurance of being fed. The young girl had a prospective value,
and was maintained for what should follow; but the old woman, in more
primitive times, had but a poor hold on life. She who could best please
her lord was the favorite slave or favorite wife, and she obtained the
best economic conditions.

With the growth of civilization, we have gradually crystallized into law
the visible necessity for feeding the helpless female; and even old
women are maintained by their male relatives with a comfortable
assurance. But to this day—save, indeed, for the increasing army of
women wage-earners, who are changing the face of the world by their
steady advance toward economic independence—the personal profit of women
bears but too close a relation to their power to win and hold the other
sex. From the odalisque with the most bracelets to the débutante with
the most bouquets, the relation still holds good,—woman’s economic
profit comes through the power of sex-attraction.

When we confront this fact boldly and plainly in the open market of
vice, we are sick with horror. When we see the same economic relation
made permanent, established by law, sanctioned and sanctified by
religion, covered with flowers and incense and all accumulated
sentiment, we think it innocent, lovely, and right. The transient trade
we think evil. The bargain for life we think good. But the biological
effect remains the same. In both cases the female gets her food from the
male by virtue of her sex-relationship to him. In both cases, perhaps
even more in marriage because of its perfect acceptance of the
situation, the female of genus homo, still living under natural law, is
inexorably modified to sex in an increasing degree.

Followed in specific detail, the action of the changed environment upon
women has been in given instances as follows: In the matter of mere
passive surroundings she has been immediately restricted in her range.
This one factor has an immense effect on man and animal alike. An
absolutely uniform environment, one shape, one size, one color, one
sound, would render life, if any life could be, one helpless, changeless
thing. As the environment increases and varies, the development of the
creature must increase and vary with it; for he acquires knowledge and
power, as the material for knowledge and the need for power appear. In
migratory species the female is free to acquire the same knowledge as
the male by the same means, the same development by the same
experiences. The human female has been restricted in range from the
earliest beginning. Even among savages, she has a much more restricted
knowledge of the land she lives in. She moves with the camp, of course,
and follows her primitive industries in its vicinity; but the war-path
and the hunt are the man’s. He has a far larger habitat. The life of the
female savage is freedom itself, however, compared with the increasing
constriction of custom closing in upon the woman, as civilization
advanced, like the iron torture chamber of romance. Its culmination is
expressed in the proverb: “A woman should leave her home but three
times,—when she is christened, when she is married, and when she is
buried.” Or this: “The woman, the cat, and the chimney should never
leave the house.” The absolutely stationary female and the wide-ranging
male are distinctly human institutions, after we leave behind us such
low forms of life as the gypsy moth, whose female seldom moves more than
a few feet from the pupa moth. She has aborted wings, and cannot fly.
She waits humbly for the winged male, lays her myriad eggs, and dies,—a
fine instance of modification to sex.

To reduce so largely the mere area of environment is a great check to
race-development; but it is not to be compared in its effects with the
reduction in voluntary activity to which the human female has been
subjected. Her restricted impression, her confinement to the four walls
of the home, have done great execution, of course, in limiting her
ideas, her information, her thought-processes, and power of judgment;
and in giving a disproportionate prominence and intensity to the few
things she knows about; but this is innocent in action compared with her
restricted expression, the denial of freedom to act. A living organism
is modified far less through the action of external circumstances upon
it and its reaction thereto, than through the effect of its own
exertions. Skin may be thickened gradually by exposure to the weather;
but it is thickened far more quickly by being rubbed against something,
as the handle of an oar or of a broom. To be surrounded by beautiful
things has much influence upon the human creature: to make beautiful
things has more. To live among beautiful surroundings and make ugly
things is more directly lowering than to live among ugly surroundings
and make beautiful things. What we do modifies us more than what is done
to us. The freedom of expression has been more restricted in women than
the freedom of impression, if that be possible. Something of the world
she lived in she has seen from her barred windows. Some air has come
through the purdah’s folds, some knowledge has filtered to her eager
ears from the talk of men. Desdemona learned somewhat of Othello. Had
she known more, she might have lived longer. But in the ever-growing
human impulse to create, the power and will to make, to do, to express
one’s new spirit in new forms,—here she has been utterly debarred. She
might work as she had worked from the beginning,—at the primitive labors
of the household; but in the inevitable expansion of even those
industries to professional levels we have striven to hold her back. To
work with her own hands, for nothing, in direct body-service to her own
family,—this has been permitted,—yes, compelled. But to be and do
anything further from this she has been forbidden. Her labor has not
only been limited in kind, but in degree. Whatever she has been allowed
to do must be done in private and alone, the first-hand industries of
savage times.

Our growth in industry has been not only in kind, but in class. The
baker is not in the same industrial grade with the house-cook, though
both make bread. To specialize any form of labor is a step up: to
organize it is another step. Specialization and organization are the
basis of human progress, the organic methods of social life. They have
been forbidden to women almost absolutely. The greatest and most
beneficent change of this century is the progress of women in these two
lines of advance. The effect of this check in industrial development,
accompanied as it was by the constant inheritance of increased racial
power, has been to intensify the sensations and emotions of women, and
to develope great activity in the lines allowed. The nervous energy that
up to present memory has impelled women to labor incessantly at
something, be it the veriest folly of fancy work, is one mark of this

In religious development the same dead-line has held back the growth of
women through all the races and ages. In dim early times she was sharer
in the mysteries and rites; but, as religion developed, her place
receded, until Paul commanded her to be silent in the churches. And she
has been silent until to-day. Even now, with all the ground gained, we
have but the beginnings—he slowly forced and disapproved beginnings—of
religious equality for the sexes. In some nations, religion is held to
be a masculine attribute exclusively, it being even questioned whether
women have souls. An early Christian council settled that important
question by vote, fortunately deciding that they had. In a church whose
main strength has always been derived from the adherence of women, it
would have been an uncomfortable reflection not to have allowed them
souls. Ancient family worship ran in the male line. It was the son who
kept the sacred grandfathers in due respect, and poured libations to
their shades. When the woman married, she changed her ancestors, and had
to worship her husband’s progenitors instead of her own. This is why the
Hindu and the Chinaman and many others of like stamp must have a son to
keep them in countenance,—a deep-seated sex-prejudice, coming to slow
extinction as women rise in economic importance.

It is painfully interesting to trace the gradual cumulative effect of
these conditions upon women: first, the action of large natural laws,
acting on her as they would act on any other animal; then the evolution
of social customs and laws (with her position as the active cause),
following the direction of mere physical forces, and adding heavily to
them; then, with increasing civilization, the unbroken accumulation of
precedent, burnt into each generation by the growing force of education,
made lovely by art, holy by religion, desirable by habit; and, steadily
acting from beneath, the unswerving pressure of economic necessity upon
which the whole structure rested. These are strong modifying conditions,

The process would have been even more effective and far less painful but
for one important circumstance. Heredity has no Salic law. Each girl
child inherits from her father a certain increasing percentage of human
development, human power, human tendency; and each boy as well inherits
from his mother the increasing percentage of sex-development, sex-power,
sex-tendency. The action of heredity has been to equalize what every
tendency of environment and education made to differ. This has saved us
from such a female as the gypsy moth. It has held up the woman, and held
down the man. It has set iron bounds to our absurd effort to make a race
with one sex a million years behind the other. But it has added terribly
to the pain and difficulty of human life,—a difficulty and a pain that
should have taught us long since that we were living on wrong lines.
Each woman born, re-humanized by the current of race activity carried on
by her father and re-womanized by her traditional position, has had to
live over again in her own person the same process of restriction,
repression, denial; the smothering “no” which crushed down all her human
desires to create, to discover, to learn, to express, to advance. Each
woman has had, on the other hand, the same single avenue of expression
and attainment; the same one way in which alone she might do what she
could, get what she might. All other doors were shut, and this one
always open; and the whole pressure of advancing humanity was upon her.
No wonder that young Daniel in the apocryphal tale proclaimed: “The king
is strong! Wine is strong! But women are stronger!”

To the young man confronting life the world lies wide. Such powers as he
has he may use, must use. If he chooses wrong at first, he may choose
again, and yet again. Not effective or successful in one channel, he may
do better in another. The growing, varied needs of all mankind call on
him for the varied service in which he finds his growth. What he wants
to be, he may strive to be. What he wants to get, he may strive to get.
Wealth, power, social distinction, fame,—what he wants he can try for.

To the young woman confronting life there is the same world beyond,
there are the same human energies and human desires and ambition within.
But all that she may wish to have, all that she may wish to do, must
come through a single channel and a single choice. Wealth, power, social
distinction, fame,—not only these, but home and happiness, reputation,
ease and pleasure, her bread and butter,—all, must come to her through a
small gold ring. This is a heavy pressure. It has accumulated behind her
through heredity, and continued about her through environment. It has
been subtly trained into her through education, till she herself has
come to think it a right condition, and pours its influence upon her
daughter with increasing impetus. Is it any wonder that women are
over-sexed? But for the constant inheritance from the more human male,
we should have been queen bees, indeed, long before this. But the
daughter of the soldier and the sailor, of the artist, the inventor, the
great merchant, has inherited in body and brain her share of his
development in each generation, and so stayed somewhat human for all her

All morbid conditions tend to extinction. One check has always existed
to our inordinate sex-development,—nature’s ready relief, death. Carried
to its furthest excess, the individual has died, the family has become
extinct, the nation itself has perished, like Sodom and Gomorrah. Where
one function is carried to unnatural excess, others are weakened, and
the organism perishes. We are familiar with this in individual cases,—at
least, the physician is. We can see it somewhat in the history of
nations. From younger races, nearer savagery, nearer the healthful
equality of pre-human creatures, has come each new start in history.
Persia was older than Greece, and its highly differentiated sexuality
had produced the inevitable result of enfeebling the racial qualities.
The Greek commander stripped the rich robes and jewels from his Persian
captives, and showed their unmanly feebleness to his men. “You have such
bodies as these to fight for such plunder as this,” he said. In the
country, among peasant classes, there is much less sex-distinction than
in cities, where wealth enables the women to live in absolute idleness;
and even the men manifest the same characteristics. It is from the
country and the lower classes that the fresh blood pours into the
cities, to be weakened in its turn by the influence of this unnatural
distinction until there is none left to replenish the nation.

The inevitable trend of human life is toward higher civilization; but,
while that civilization is confined to one sex, it inevitably
exaggerates sex-distinction, until the increasing evil of this condition
is stronger than all the good of the civilization attained, and the
nation falls. Civilization, be it understood, does not consist in the
acquisition of luxuries. Social development is an organic development. A
civilized State is one in which the citizens live in organic industrial
relation. The more full, free, subtle, and easy that relation; the more
perfect the differentiation of labor and exchange of product, with their
correlative institutions,—the more perfect is that civilization. To eat,
drink, sleep, and keep warm,—these are common to all animals, whether
the animal couches in a bed of leaves or one of eiderdown, sleeps in the
sun to avoid the wind or builds a furnace-heated house, lies in wait for
game or orders a dinner at a hotel. These are but individual animal
processes. Whether one lays an egg or a million eggs, whether one bears
a cub, a kitten, or a baby, whether one broods its chickens, guards its
litter, or tends a nursery full of children, these are but individual
animal processes. But to serve each other more and more widely; to live
only by such service; to develope special functions, so that we depend
for our living on society’s return for services that can be of no direct
use to ourselves,—this is civilization, our human glory and

All this human progress has been accomplished by men. Women have been
left behind, outside, below, having no social relation whatever, merely
the sex-relation, whereby they lived. Let us bear in mind that all the
tender ties of family are ties of blood, of sex-relationship. A friend,
a comrade, a partner,—this is a human relative. Father, mother, son,
daughter, sister, brother, husband, wife,—these are sex-relatives. Blood
is thicker than water, we say. True. But ties of blood are not those
that ring the world with the succeeding waves of progressive religion,
art, science, commerce, education, all that makes us human. Man is the
human creature. Woman has been checked, starved, aborted in human
growth; and the swelling forces of race-development have been driven
back in each generation to work in her through sex-functions alone.

This is the way in which the sexuo-economic relation has operated in our
species, checking race-development in half of us, and stimulating
sex-development in both.


The facts stated in the foregoing chapters are familiar and undeniable,
the argument seems clear; yet the mind reacts violently from the
conclusions it is forced to admit, and tries to find relief in the
commonplace conditions of every-day life. From this looming phantom of
the over-sexed female of genus homo we fly back in satisfaction to
familiar acquaintances and relatives,—to Mrs. John Smith and Miss
Imogene Jones, to mothers and sisters and daughters and sweethearts and
wives. We feel that such a dreadful state of things cannot be true, or
we should surely have noticed it. We may even perform that acrobatic
feat so easy to most minds,—admit that the statement may be
theoretically true, but practically false!

Two simple laws of brain action are responsible for the difficulty of
convincing the human race of any large general truths concerning itself.
One is common to all brains, to all nerve sensations indeed, and is
cheerfully admitted to have nothing to do with the sexuo-economic
relation. It is this simple fact, in popular phrase,—that what we are
used to we do not notice. This rests on the law of adaptation, the
steady, ceaseless pressure that tends to fit the organism to the
environment. A nerve touched for the first time with a certain
impression feels this first impression far more than the hundredth or
thousandth, though the thousandth be far more violent than the first. If
an impression be constant and regular, we become utterly insensitive to
it, and only respond under some special condition, as the ticking of a
clock, the noise of running water or waves on the beach, even the
clatter of railroad trains, grows imperceptible to those who hear it
constantly. It is perfectly possible for an individual to become
accustomed to the most disadvantageous conditions, and fail to notice

It is equally possible for a race, a nation, a class, to become
accustomed to most disadvantageous conditions, and fail to notice them.
Take, as an individual instance, the wearing of corsets by women. Put a
corset, even a loose one, on a vigorous man or woman who never wore one,
and there is intense discomfort, and a vivid consciousness thereof. The
healthy muscles of the trunk resent the pressure, the action of the
whole body is checked in the middle, the stomach is choked, the process
of digestion interfered with; and the victim says, “How can you bear
such a thing?”

But the person habitually wearing a corset does not feel these evils.
They exist, assuredly, the facts are there, the body is not deceived;
but the nerves have become accustomed to these disagreeable sensations,
and no longer respond to them. The person “does not feel it.” In fact,
the wearer becomes so used to the sensations that, when they are
removed,—with the corset,—there is a distinct sense of loss and
discomfort. The heavy folds of the cravat, stock, and neckcloth of
earlier men’s fashions, the heavy horse-hair peruke, the stiff high
collar of to-day, the kind of shoes we wear,—these are perfectly
familiar instances of the force of habit in the individual.

This is equally true of racial habits. That a king should rule because
he was born, passed unquestioned for thousands of years. That the eldest
son should inherit the titles and estates was a similar phenomenon as
little questioned. That a debtor should be imprisoned, and so entirely
prevented from paying his debts, was common law. So glaring an evil as
chattel slavery was an unchallenged social institution from earliest
history to our own day among the most civilized nations of the earth.
Christ himself let it pass unnoticed. The hideous injustice of
Christianity to the Jew attracted no attention through many centuries.
That the serf went with the soil, and was owned by the lord thereof, was
one of the foundations of society in the Middle Ages.

Social conditions, like individual conditions, become familiar by use,
and cease to be observed. This is the reason why it is so much easier to
criticise the customs of other persons or other nations than our own. It
is also the reason why we so naturally deny and resent the charges of
the critic. It is not necessarily because of any injustice on the one
side or dishonesty on the other, but because of a simple and useful law
of nature. The Englishman coming to America is much struck by America’s
political corruption; and, in the earnest desire to serve his brother,
he tells us all about it. That which he has at home he does not observe,
because he is used to it. The American in England finds also something
to object to, and omits to balance his criticism by memories of home.

When a condition exists among us which began in those unrecorded ages
back of tradition even, which obtains in varying degree among every
people on earth, and which begins to act upon the individual at birth,
it would be a miracle past all belief if people should notice it. The
sexuo-economic relation is such a condition. It began in primeval
savagery. It exists in all nations. Each boy and girl is born into it,
trained into it, and has to live in it. The world’s progress in matters
like these is attained by a slow and painful process, but one which
works to good ends.

In the course of social evolution there are developed individuals so
constituted as not to fit existing conditions, but to be organically
adapted to more advanced conditions. These advanced individuals respond
in sharp and painful consciousness to existing conditions, and cry out
against them according to their lights. The history of religion, of
political and social reform, is full of familiar instances of this. The
heretic, the reformer, the agitator, these feel what their compeers do
not, see what they do not, and, naturally, say what they do not. The
mass of the people are invariably displeased by the outcry of these
uneasy spirits. In simple primitive periods they were promptly put to
death. Progress was slow and difficult in those days. But this severe
process of elimination developed the kind of progressive person known as
a martyr; and this remarkable sociological law was manifested: that the
strength of a current of social force is increased by the sacrifice of
individuals who are willing to die in the effort to promote it. “The
blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.” This is so commonly
known to-day, though not formulated, that power hesitates to persecute,
lest it intensify the undesirable heresy. A policy of “free speech” is
found to let pass most of the uneasy pushes and spurts of these stirring
forces, and lead to more orderly action. Our great anti-slavery
agitation, the heroic efforts of the “women’s rights” supporters, are
fresh and recent proofs of these plain facts: that the mass of the
people do not notice existing conditions, and that they are not pleased
with those who do. This is one strong reason why the sexuo-economic
relation passes unobserved among us, and why any statement of it will be
so offensive to many.

The other law of brain action which tends to prevent our perception of
general truth is this: it is easier to personalize than to generalize.
This is due primarily to the laws of mental development, but it is
greatly added to by the very relation under discussion. As a common law
of mental action, the power to observe and retain an individual
impression marks a lower degree of development than the power to
classify and collate impressions and make generalizations therefrom.
There are savages who can say “hot fire,” “hot stone,” “hot water,” but
cannot say “heat,” cannot think it. Similarly, they can say “good man,”
“good knife,” “good meat”; but they cannot say “goodness,” they cannot
think it. They have observed specific instances, but are unable to
collate them, to generalize therefrom. So, in our common life,
individual instances of injustice or cruelty are observed long before
the popular mind is able to see that it is a condition which causes
these things, and that the condition must be altered before the effects
can be removed. A bad priest, a bad king, a bad master, were long
observed and pointedly objected to before it began to be held that the
condition of monarchy or the condition of slavery must needs bear fruit,
and that, if we did not like the fruit, we might better change the tree.
Any slaveholder would admit that there were instances of cruelty,
laziness, pride, among masters, and of deceit, laziness, dishonesty,
among slaves. What the slaveholder did not see was that, given the
relation of chattel slavery, it inevitably tended to produce these
evils, and did produce them, in spite of all the efforts of the
individual to the contrary. To see the individual instance is easy. To
see the general cause is harder, requires a further brain development.
We, as a race, have long since reached the degree of general
intelligence which ought to enable us to judge more largely and wisely
of social questions; but here the deteriorating effect of the
sexuo-economic relation is shown.

The sex relation is intensely personal. All the functions and relations
ensuing are intensely personal. The spirit of “me and my wife, my son
John and his wife, us four, and no more,” is the natural spirit of this
phase of life. By confining half the world to this one set of functions,
we have confined it absolutely to the personal. And man that is born of
woman is reared by her in this same atmosphere of concentrated
personality, and afterward spends a large part of his life in it. This
condition tends to magnify the personal and minimize the general in our
minds, with results that are familiar to us all. The difficulty of
enforcing sanitary laws, where personal convenience must be sacrificed
to general safety, the size of the personal grievance as against the
general, the need of “having it brought home to us,” which hinders every
step of public advancement, and our eager response when it is “brought
home to us,”—these are truisms. So far as a comparison can be made,
women are in this sense more personal than men, more personally
sensitive, less willing to “stand in line” and “take turns,” less able
to see why a general restriction is just when it touches them or their
children. This is natural enough, inevitable enough, and only mentioned
here as partially explaining why people do not see the general facts as
to our over-sexed condition. Yet they are patent everywhere, not only
patent, but painful. Being used to them, we do not notice them, or,
forced to notice them, we attribute the pain we feel to the evil
behavior of some individual, and never think of it as being the result
of a condition common to us all.

If we have among us such a condition as has been stated,—a state of
morbid and excessive sex-development,—it must, of course, show itself in
daily life in a thousand ways. The non-observer, not having seen any
such manifestation, concludes that there is none, and so denies the
alleged condition,—says it sounds all right, but he does not see any
proof of it! Having clearly in mind that, if such proof exists, such
commensurate evil in common life as would naturally result from an
abnormal sex-distinction, these evils must be so common and habitual as
to pass unobserved; and, farther, that, when forced upon our notice, we
only see them as matters of personal behavior,—let us, in spite of these
hindrances, see if the visible results among us are not such as must
follow such a cause, and let us seek them merely in the phenomena of
every-day life as we know it, not in the deeper sexual or social

A concrete instance, familiar as the day, and unbelievable in its ill
effects, is the attitude of the mother toward her children in regard to
the sex-relation. With very few exceptions, the mother gives her
daughter no warning or prevision of what life holds for her, and so lets
innocence and ignorance go on perpetuating sickness and sin and pain
through ceaseless generations. A normal motherhood wisely and
effectively guards its young from evil. An abnormal motherhood,
over-anxious and under-wise, hovers the child to its harm, and turns it
out defenceless to the worst of evils. This is known to millions and
millions personally. Only very lately have we thought to consider it
generally. And not yet do we see that it is not the fault of the
individual mother, but of her economic status. Because of our abnormal
sex-development, the whole field has become something of an offence,—a
thing to be hidden and ignored, passed over without remark or
explanation. Hence this amazing paradox of mothers ashamed of
motherhood, unable to explain it, and—measure this well—lying to their
children about the primal truths of life,—mothers lying to their own
children about motherhood!

The pressure under which this is done is an economic one. The girl must
marry: else how live? The prospective husband prefers the girl to know
nothing. He is the market, the demand. She is the supply. And with the
best intentions the mother serves her child’s economic advantage by
preparing her for the market. This is an excellent instance. It is
common. It is most evil. It is plainly traceable to our sexuo-economic

Another instance of so grossly unjust, so palpable, so general an evil
that it has occasionally aroused some protest even from our dull
consciousness is this: the enforced attitude of the woman toward
marriage. To the young girl, as has been previously stated, marriage is
the one road to fortune, to life. She is born highly specialized as a
female: she is carefully educated and trained to realize in all ways her
sex-limitations and her sex-advantages. What she has to gain even as a
child is largely gained by feminine tricks and charms. Her reading, both
in history and fiction, treats of the same position for women; and
romance and poetry give it absolute predominance. Pictorial art, music,
the drama, society, everything, tells her that she is _she_, and that
all depends on whom she marries. Where young boys plan for what they
will achieve and attain, young girls plan for whom they will achieve and
attain. Little Ellie and her swan’s nest among the reeds is a familiar
illustration. It is the lover on the red roan steed she planned for. It
is Lancelot riding through the sheaves that called the Lady from her
loom at Shalott: “he” is the coming world.

With such a prospect as this before her; with an organization specially
developed to this end; with an education adding every weight of precept
and example, of wisdom and virtue, to the natural instincts; with a
social environment the whole machinery of which is planned to give the
girl a chance to see and to be seen, to provide her with
“opportunities”; and with all the pressure of personal advantage and
self-interest added to the sex-instinct,—what one would logically expect
is a society full of desperate and eager husband-hunters, regarded with
popular approval.

Not at all! Marriage is the woman’s proper sphere, her divinely ordered
place, her natural end. It is what she is born for, what she is trained
for, what she is exhibited for. It is, moreover, her means of honorable
livelihood and advancement. _But_—she must not even look as if she
wanted it! She must not turn her hand over to get it. She must sit
passive as the seasons go by, and her “chances” lessen with each year.
Think of the strain on a highly sensitive nervous organism to have so
much hang on one thing, to see the possibility of attaining it grow less
and less yearly, and to be forbidden to take any step toward securing
it! This she must bear with dignity and grace to the end.

To what end? To the end that, if she does not succeed in being chosen,
she becomes a thing of mild popular contempt, a human being with no
further place in life save as an attachée, a dependant upon more
fortunate relatives, an old maid. The open derision and scorn with which
unmarried women used to be treated is lessening each year in proportion
to their advance in economic independence. But it is not very long since
the popular proverb, “Old maids lead apes in hell,” was in common use;
since unwelcome lovers urged their suit with the awful argument that
they might be the last askers; since the hapless lady in the wood prayed
for a husband, and, when the owl answered, “Who? who?” cried, “Anybody,
good Lord!” There is still a pleasant ditty afloat as to the “Three Old
Maids of Lynn,” who did not marry when they could, and could not when
they would.

The cruel and absurd injustice of blaming the girl for not getting what
she is allowed no effort to obtain seems unaccountable; but it becomes
clear when viewed in connection with the sexuo-economic relation.
Although marriage is a means of livelihood, it is not honest employment
where one can offer one’s labor without shame, but a relation where the
support is given outright, and enforced by law in return for the
functional service of the woman, the “duties of wife and mother.”
Therefore no honorable woman can ask for it. It is not only that the
natural feminine instinct is to retire, as that of the male is to
advance, but that, because marriage means support, a woman must not ask
a man to support her. It is economic beggary as well as a false attitude
from a sex point of view.

Observe the ingenious cruelty of the arrangement. It is just as humanly
natural for a woman as for a man to want wealth. But, when her wealth is
made to come through the same channels as her love, she is forbidden to
ask for it by her own sex-nature and by business honor. Hence the
millions of mismade marriages with “anybody, good Lord!” Hence the
million broken hearts which must let all life pass, unable to make any
attempt to stop it. Hence the many “maiden aunts,” elderly sisters and
daughters, unattached women everywhere, who are a burden on their male
relatives and society at large. This is changing for the better, to be
sure, but changing only through the advance of economic independence for
women. A “bachelor maid” is a very different thing from “an old maid.”

This, then, is the reason for the Andromeda position of the
possibly-to-be-married young woman, and for the ridicule and reproach
meted out to her. Since women are viewed wholly as creatures of sex even
by one another, and since everything is done to add to their young
powers of sex-attraction; since they are marriageable solely on this
ground, unless, indeed, “a fortune” has been added to their
charms,—failure to marry is held a clear proof of failure to attract, a
lack of sex-value. And, since they have no other value, save in a low
order of domestic service, they are quite naturally despised. What else
is the creature good for, failing in the functions for which it was
created? The scorn of male and female alike falls on this sexless thing:
she is a human failure.

It is not strange, therefore, though just as pitiful,—this long chapter
of patient, voiceless, dreary misery in the lives of women; and it is
not strange, either, to see the marked and steady change in opinion that
follows the development of other faculties in woman besides those of
sex. Now that she is a person as well as a female, filling economic
relation to society, she is welcomed and accepted as a human creature,
and need not marry the wrong man for her bread and butter. So sharp is
the reaction from this unlovely yoke that there is a limited field of
life to-day wherein women choose not to marry, preferring what they call
“their independence,”—a new-born, hard-won, dear-bought independence.
That any living woman should prefer it to home and husband, to love and
motherhood, throws a fierce light on what women must have suffered for
lack of freedom before.

This tendency need not be feared, however. It is merely a reaction, and
a most natural one. It will pass as naturally, as more and more women
become independent, when marriage is not the price of liberty. The fear
exhibited that women generally, once fully independent, will not marry,
is proof of how well it has been known that only dependence forced them
to marriage as it was. There will be needed neither bribe nor punishment
to force women to true marriage with independence.

Along this line it is most interesting to mark the constant struggle
between natural instinct and natural law, and social habit and social
law, through all our upward course. Beginning with the natural functions
and instincts of sex, holding her great position as selector of the best
among competing males, woman’s beautiful work is to improve the race by
right marriage. The feeling by which this is accomplished, growing finer
as we become more civilized, developes into that wide, deep, true, and
lasting love which is the highest good to individual human beings.
Following its current, we have always reverenced and admired “true
love”; and our romances, from the earliest times, abound in praise of
the princess who marries the page or prisoner, venerating the selective
power in woman, choosing “the right man” for his own sake. Directly
against this runs the counter-current, resulting in the marriage of
convenience, a thing which the true inner heart of the world has always
hated. Young Lochinvar is not an eternal hero for nothing. The
personified type of a great social truth is sure of a long life. The
poor young hero, handsome, brave, good, but beset with difficulties,
stands ever against the wealth and power of the bad man. The woman is
pulled hither and thither between them, and the poor hero wins in the
end. That he is heaped with honor and riches, after all, merely
signifies our recognition that he is the higher good. This is better
than a sun-myth. It is a race-myth, and true as truth.

So we have it among us in life to-day, endlessly elaborated and weakened
by profuse detail, as is the nature of that life, but there yet. The
girl who marries the rich old man or the titled profligate is condemned
by the popular voice; and the girl who marries the poor young man, and
helps him live his best, is still approved by the same great arbiter.
And yet why should we blame the woman for pursuing her vocation? Since
marriage is her only way to get money, why should she not try to get
money in that way? Why cast the weight of all self-interest on the
“practical” plane so solidly against the sex-interest of the individual
and of the race? The mercenary marriage is a perfectly natural
consequence of the economic dependence of women.

On the other hand, note the effect of this dependence upon men. As the
excessive sex-distinction and economic dependence of women increase, so
do the risk and difficulty of marriage increase, so is marriage deferred
and avoided, to the direct injury of both sexes and society at large. In
simpler relations, in the country, wherever women have a personal value
in economic relation as well as a feminine value in sex-relation, an
early marriage is an advantage. The young farmer gets a profitable
servant when he marries. The young business man gets nothing of the
kind,—a pretty girl, a charming girl, ready for “wifehood and
motherhood”—so far as her health holds out,—but having no economic value
whatever. She is merely a consumer, and he must wait till he can “afford
to marry.” These are instances frequent everywhere, and familiar to us
all, of the palpable effects in common life of our sexuo-economic

If there is one unmixed evil in human life, it is that known to us in
all ages, and popularly called “the social evil,” consisting of
promiscuous and temporary sex-relations. The inherent wrong in these
relations is sociological before it is legal or moral. The recognition
by the moral sense of a given thing as wrong requires that it be wrong,
to begin with. A thing is not wrong merely because it is called so. The
wrongness of this form of sex-relation in an advanced social state rests
solidly on natural laws. In the evolution of better and better means of
reproducing the species, a longer period of infancy was developed. This
longer period of infancy required longer care, and it was accordingly
developed that the best care during this time was given by both parents.
This induced a more permanent mating. And the more permanent mating,
bound together by the common interests and duties, developed higher
psychic attributes in the parents by use, in the children by heredity.
That is why society is right in demanding of its constituent individuals
the virtue of chastity, the sanctity of marriage. Society is perfectly
right, because social evolution is as natural a process as individual
evolution; and the permanent parent is proven an advantageous social
factor. But social evolution, deep, unconscious, slow, is one thing; and
self-conscious, loud-voiced society is another.

The deepest forces of nature have tended to evolve pure, lasting,
monogamous marriage in the human race. But our peculiar arrangement of
feeding one sex by the other has tended to produce a very different
thing, and has produced it. In no other animal species is the female
economically dependent on the male. In no other animal species is the
sex-relation for sale. A coincidence. Where, on the one hand, every
condition of life tends to develope sex in women, to crush out the power
and the desire for economic production and exchange, and to develope
also the age-long habit of seeking all earthly good at a man’s hands and
of making but one return; where, on the other hand, man inherits the
excess in sex-energy, and is never blamed for exercising it, and where
he developes also the age-long habit of taking what he wants from women,
for whose helpless acquiescence he makes an economic return,—what should
naturally follow? Precisely what has followed. We live in a world of
law, and humanity is no exception to it. We have produced a certain
percentage of females with inordinate sex-tendencies and inordinate
greed for material gain. We have produced a certain percentage of males
with inordinate sex-tendencies and a cheerful willingness to pay for
their gratification. And, as the percentage of such men is greater than
the percentage of such women, we have worked out most evil methods of
supplying the demand. But always in the healthy social heart we have
known that it was wrong, a racial wrong, productive of all evil. Being a
man’s world, it was quite inevitable that he should blame woman for
their mutual misdoing. There is reason in it, too. Bad as he is, he is
only seeking gratification natural in kind, though abnormal in degree.
She is not only in some cases doing this, but in most cases showing the
falseness of the deed by doing it for hire,—physical falsehood,—a sin
against nature.

It is a true instinct that revolts against obtaining bread by use of the
sex-functions. Why, then, are we so content to do this in marriage?
Legally and religiously, we say that it is right; but in its reactionary
effect on the parties concerned and on society at large it is wrong. The
physical and psychical effects are evil, though modified by our belief
that it is right. The physical and psychical effects of prostitution
were still evil when the young girls of Babylon earned their dowries
thereby in the temple of Bela, and thought it right. What we think and
feel alters the moral quality of an act in our consciousness as we do
it, but does not alter its subsequent effect. We justify and approve the
economic dependence of women upon the sex-relation in marriage. We
condemn it unsparingly out of marriage. We follow it with our blame and
scorn up to the very doors of marriage,—the mercenary bride,—but think
no harm of the mercenary wife, filching her husband’s pockets in the
night. Love sanctifies it, we say: love must go with it.

Love never yet went with self-interest. The deepest antagonism lies
between them: they are diametrically opposed forces. In the beautiful
progress of evolution we find constant opposition between the instincts
and processes of self-preservation and the instinct and processes of
race-preservation. From those early forms where birth brought death, as
in the flowering aloe, the ephemeral may-fly, up to the highest glory of
self-effacing love; these two forces work in opposition. We have tied
them together. We have made the woman, the mother,—the very source of
sacrifice through love,—get gain through love,—a hideous paradox. No
wonder that our daily lives are full of the flagrant evils produced by
this unnatural state. No wonder that men turn with loathing from the
kind of women they have made.


The peculiar combination of functions which we are studying has not only
an immediate effect on individuals through sex-action, and through the
sex-affected individuals upon society, but also an effect upon society
through economic action, and through the economically affected society
upon the individual.

The economic aspect of the question brings it prominently forward to-day
as influencing not only our private health and happiness and the
processes of reproduction, but our public health and happiness and the
processes of social economics as well. Society is confronted in this age
with most pressing problems in economics, and we need the fullest
understanding of the factors involved. These problems are almost wholly
social rather than physical, and concern not the capacity of a given
society to produce and distribute enough wealth for its maintenance, but
some maladjustment of internal processes which checks that production
and distribution, and developes such irregular and morbid processes of
innutrition, malnutrition, and over-nutrition as continually to injure
the health and activity of the social organism. Our difficulty about
wealth is not in getting it out of the earth, but in getting it away
from one another. We have phenomena before us in the development of
social economic relations analogous to those accompanying our
development in sex-relation.

In the original constituents of society, the human animal in its
primitive state, economic processes were purely individual. The amount
of food obtained by a given man bore direct relation to his own personal
exertions. Other men were to him merely undesirable competitors for the
same goods; and, the fewer these competitors were, the more goods
remained for him. Therefore, he killed as many of his rivals as
possible. Given a certain supply of needed food, as the edible beasts or
fruits in a forest, and a certain number of individuals to get this
food, each by his own exertions, it follows that, the more numerous the
individuals, the less food to be obtained by each; and, conversely, the
fewer the individuals, the more food to be obtained by each. Wherefore,
the primitive savage slew his fellow-man at sight, on good economic
grounds. This is the extreme of individual competition, perfectly
logical, and, in its time, economically right. That time is forever
past. The basic condition of human life is union; the organic social
relation, the interchange of functional service, wherein the individual
is most advantaged, not by his own exertions for his own goods, but by
the exchange of his exertions with the exertions of others for goods
produced by them together. We are not treating here of any communistic
theory as to the equitable division of the wealth produced, but of a
clear truth in social economics,—that wealth is a social product.
Whatever one may believe as to what should be done with the wealth of
the world, no one can deny that the production of this wealth requires
the combined action of many individuals. From the simplest combination
of strength that enables many men to overcome the mammoth or to lift the
stone—an achievement impossible to one alone—to the subtle and complex
interchange of highly specialized skilled labor which makes possible our
modern house; the progress of society rests upon the increasing
collectivity of human labor.

The evolution of organic life goes on in geometrical progression: cells
combine, and form organs; organs combine, and form organisms; organisms
combine, and form organizations. Society is an organization. Society is
the fourth power of the cell. It is composed of individual animals of
genus homo, living in organic relation. The course of social evolution
is the gradual establishment of organic relation between individuals,
and this organic relation rests on purely economic grounds. In the
simplest combination of primordial cells the force that drew and held
them together was that of economic necessity. It profited them to live
in combination. Those that did so survived, and those that did not
perished. So with the appearance of the most elaborate organisms: it
profited them to become a complex bundle of members and organs in
indivisible relation. A creature so constructed survived, where the same
amount of living matter unorganized would have perished. And so it is,
literally and exactly, in a complex society, with all its elaborate
specialization of individuals in arts and crafts, trades and
professions. A society so constructed survives, where the same number of
living beings, unorganized, would perish. The specialization of labor
and exchange of product in a social body is identical in its nature with
the specialization and exchange of function in an individual body. This
process, on orderly lines of evolution, involves the gradual
subordination of individual effort for individual good to the collective
effort for the collective good,—not from any so-called “altruism,” but
from the economic necessities of the case. It is as natural, as
“selfish,” for society so to live, the individual citizens working
together for the social good, as for one’s own body to live by the hands
and feet, teeth and eyes, heart and lungs, working together for the
individual good. Social evolution tends to an increasing specialization
in structure and function, and to an increasing interdependence of the
component parts, with a correlative decrease through disuse of the once
valuable process of individual struggle for success; and this is based
absolutely on the advantage to the individual as well as to the social

But, as we study this process of development, noting with admiration the
progressive changes in human relation, the new functions, the extended
structure, the increase of sensation in the socialized individuals with
its enormous possibilities of joy and healthful sensitiveness to pain,
we are struck by the visible presence of some counter-force, acting
against the normal development and producing most disadvantageous
effects. As in our orderly progress in social sex-development we are
checked by the tenacious hold of rudimentary impulses artificially
maintained by false conditions, so in our orderly progress in social
economic development we see the same peculiar survival of rudimentary
impulses, which should have been long since easily outgrown. It is no
longer of advantage to the individual to struggle for his own gain at
the expense of others: his gain now requires the co-ordinate efforts of
these others; yet he continues so to struggle.

In this lack of adjustment between the individual and the social
interest lies our economic trouble. An illustration of this may be seen
in the manufacture of prepared foods. This is a process impossible to
the individual singly, and of great advantage to the individual in
collective relation,—a perfectly natural economic process, advantageous
in proportion to the amount and quality of the food manufactured. This
we constantly find accompanied by a morbid process of dilution and
adulteration, by which society is injured, in order that the individual
concerned in the manufacture may be benefited. This is as though one of
the organs of the body—the liver, for instance—should deliberately
weaken or poison its quota of secretion, in order that by giving less it
might retain more, and become large and fat individually. An organ can
do so, does do so; but such action is morbid action, and constitutes
disease. The body is injured, weakened, destroyed, and so ultimately the
organ perishes also. It is a false conception of gain, and the falsehood
lies in not recognizing the true relation between individual and social
interests. This failure to recognize or, at least, to act up to a
recognition of social interests, owing to the disproportionate pressure
of individual interests, is the underlying cause of our economic
distress. As society is composed of individuals, we must look to them
for the action causing these morbid social processes; and, as
individuals act under the pressure of conditions, we must look to the
conditions affecting the individuals for the causes of their action.

In general, under social law, men develope right action; but some hidden
spring seems to force them continually into wrong action. We have our
hand upon this hidden spring in the sexuo-economic relation. If we had
remained on an individual economic basis, the evil influence would have
had far less ill effect; but, as we grow into the social economic
relation, it increases with our civilization. The sex-relation is
primarily and finally individual. It is a physical relation between
individual bodies; and, while it may also extend to a psychical relation
between individual souls, it does not become a social relation, though
it does change its personal development to suit social needs.

In all its processes, to all its results, the sex-relation is personal,
working through individuals upon individuals, and developing individual
traits and characteristics, to the great advantage of society. The
qualities developed by social relation are built into the race through
the sex-relation, but the sex-relation itself is wholly personal. Our
economic relation, on the contrary, though originally individual,
becomes through social evolution increasingly collective. By combining
the human sex-relation with the human economic relation, we have
combined a permanently individual process with a progressively
collective one. This involves a strain on both, which increases in
direct proportion to our socialization, and, so far, has resulted in the
ultimate destruction of the social organism acted upon by such
irreconcilable forces.

As has been shown, this combination has affected the sex-relation of
individuals by bringing into it a tendency to collectivism with economic
advantage, best exhibited in our distinctive racial phenomenon of
prostitution. On the other hand, it has affected the economic relation
of society by bringing into it a tendency to individualism with
sex-advantage, best exhibited in the frequent practice of sacrificing
public good to personal gain, that the individual may thereby “support
his family.” We are so used to considering it the first duty of a man to
support his family that it takes a very glaring instance of bribery and
corruption in their interests to shake our conviction; but, as a
sociological law, every phase of the prostitution of public service to
private gain, from the degradation of the artist to the exploitation of
the helpless unskilled laborer, marks a diseased social action. Our
social status rests upon our common consent, common action, common
submission to the common will. No individual interests can stand for a
moment against the interests of the common weal, either when war demands
the last sacrifice of individual property and life or when peace
requires the absolute submission of individual property and life to
common law,—the fixed expression of the people’s will. The maintenance
of “law and order” involves the very spirit of socialism,—the sinking of
personal interest in common interest. All this rests upon the evolution
of the social spirit, the keen sense of social duty, the conscientious
fulfilment of social service; and it is here that the excessive
individualism maintained by our sexuo-economic relation enters as a
strong and increasingly disadvantageous social factor. We have dimly
recognized the irreconcilability of the sex-relation with economic
relations on both sides,—in our sharp condemnation of making the
sex-functions openly commercial, and in the drift toward celibacy in
collective institutions. Bodies of men or women, actuated by the highest
religious impulses, desiring to live nobly and to serve society, have
always recognized something antagonistic in the sex-relation. They have
thought it inherent in the relation itself, not seeing that it was the
economic side which made it reactionary. Yet this action was practically
admitted by the continued existence of communal societies where the
sex-relation did exist, in an unacknowledged form, and without the
element of economic exchange. It is admitted also by the noble and
self-sacrificing devotion of married missionaries of the Protestant
Church, who are supported by contributions. If the missionary were
obliged to earn his wife’s living and his own, he could do little
mission work.

The highest human attributes are perfectly compatible with the
sex-relation, but not with the sexuo-economic relation. We see this
opposition again in the tendency to collectivity in bodies of single
men,—their comradeship, equality, and mutual helpfulness as compared
with the attitude of the same men toward one another, when married. This
is why the quality of “organizability” is stronger in men than in women;
their common economic interests force them into relation, while the
isolated and even antagonistic economic interests of women keep them
from it. The condition of individual economic dependence in which women
live resembles that of the savage in the forest. They obtain their
economic goods by securing a male through their individual exertions,
all competing freely to this end. No combination is possible. The
numerous girls at a summer resort, in their attitude toward the scant
supply of young men, bear an unconscious resemblance to the emulous
savages in a too closely hunted forest. And here may be given an
economic reason for the oft-noted bitterness with which the virtuous
women regard the vicious. The virtuous woman stands in close ranks with
her sisters, refusing to part with herself—her only economic goods—until
she is assured of legal marriage, with its lifelong guarantee of
support. Under equal proportions of birth in the two sexes, every woman
would be tolerably sure of obtaining her demands. But here enters the
vicious woman, and offers the same goods—though of inferior quality, to
be sure—for a far less price. Every one of such illegitimate competitors
lowers the chances of the unmarried women and the income of the married.
No wonder those who hold themselves highly should be moved to bitterness
at being undersold in this way. It is the hatred of the trade-unionist
for “scab labor.”

On the woman’s side we are steadily maintaining the force of primitive
individual competition in the world as against the tendency of social
progress to develope co-operation in its place, and this tendency of
course is inherited by their sons. On the man’s side the same effect is
produced through another feature of the relation. The tendency to
individualism with sex-advantage is developed in man by an opposite
process to that operating on the woman. She gets her living by getting a
husband. He gets his wife by getting a living. It is to her individual
economic advantage to secure a mate. It is to his individual
sex-advantage to secure economic gain. The sex-functions to her have
become economic functions. Economic functions to him have become
sex-functions. This has confounded our natural economic competition,
inevitably growing into economic co-operation, with the element of
sex-competition,—an entirely different force.

Competition among males, with selection by the female of the superior
male, is the process of sexual selection, and works to racial
improvement. So far as the human male competes freely with his peers in
higher and higher activities, and the female chooses the winner, so far
we are directly benefited. But there is a radical distinction between
sex-competition and marriage by purchase. In the first the male succeeds
by virtue of what he can do; in the second, by virtue of what he can
get. The increased power to do, transmitted to the young, is of racial
advantage. But mere possessions, with no question as to the method of
their acquisition, are not necessarily of advantage to the individual as
a father. To make the sexual gain of the male rest on his purchasing
power puts the immense force of sex-competition into the field of social
economics, not only as an incentive to labor and achievement, which is
good, but as an incentive to individual gain, however obtained, which is
bad; thus accounting for our multiplied and intensified desire to
get,—the inordinate greed of our industrial world. The tournament of the
Middle Ages was a brutal sport perhaps, with its human injury, pain, and
death, under the cry of: “Fight on, brave knights! Fair eyes are looking
on you!” but it represents a healthier process than our modern method of
securing the wherewithal to maintain the sex-relation. As so beautifully
phrased by Jean Ingelow:—

                 “I worked afar that I might rear
                   A happy home on English soil;
                 I labored for the gold and gear,
                               I loved my toil.

                 “Forever in my spirit spake
                   The natural whisper, ‘Well ’twill be
                 When loving wife and children break
                               Their bread with thee!’”

Or, put more broadly by Kipling:—

                  “But since our women must walk gay,
                    And money buys their gear,
                  The sealing vessels filch this way
                    At hazard, year by year.”

The contest in every good man’s heart to-day between the “ought to” and
the “must,” between his best work and the “potboiler,” is his personal
share of this incessant struggle between social interest and
self-interest. For himself and by himself he would be glad to do his
best work, to be true to his ideals, to be brave in meeting loss for
that truth’s sake. But as the compromising capitalist says in “Put
Yourself in His Place,” when his sturdy young friend—a bachelor—wonders
at his giving in to unjust demands, “Marriage makes a mouse of a man.”
To the young business man who falls into evil courses in the
sex-relation the open greed of his fair dependant is a menace to his
honesty, to his business prospects. On the same man married the needs of
his wife often operate in the same way. The sense of the dependence of
the helpless creature whose food must come through him does not
stimulate courage, but compels submission.

The foregoing distinction should be clearly held in mind. Legitimate
sex-competition brings out all that is best in man. To please her, to
win her, he strives to do his best. But the economic dependence of the
female upon the male, with its ensuing purchasability, does not so
affect a man: it puts upon him the necessity for getting things, not for
doing them. In the lowest grades of labor, where there is no getting
without doing and where the laborer always does more than he gets, this
works less palpable evil than in the higher grades, the professions and
arts, where the most valuable work is always ahead of the market, and
where to work for the market involves a lowering of standards. The young
artist or poet or scientific student works for his work’s sake, for art,
for science, and so for the best good of society. But the artist or
student married must get gain, must work for those who will pay; and
those who will pay are not those who lift and bear forward the standard
of progress. Community of interest is quite possible with those who are
working most disinterestedly for the social good; but bring in the
sex-relation, and all such solidarity disintegrates,—resolves itself
into the tiny groups of individuals united on a basis of sex-union, and
briskly acting in their own immediate interests at anybody’s or
everybody’s expense.

The social perception of the evil resultant from the intrusion of
sex-influence upon racial action has found voice in the heartless
proverb, “There is no evil without a woman at the bottom of it.” When a
man’s work goes wrong, his hopes fail, his ambitions sink, cynical
friends inquire, “Who is she?” It is not for nothing that a man’s best
friends sigh when he marries, especially if he is a man of genius. This
judgment of the world has obtained side by side with its equal faith in
the ennobling influence of woman. The world is quite right. It does not
have to be consistent. Both judgments are correct. Woman affecting
society through the sex-relation or through her individual economic
relation is an ennobling influence. Woman affecting society through our
perverse combination of the two becomes a strange influence, indeed.

One of the amusing minor results of these conditions is that, while we
have observed the effect of marriage upon social economic relation and
the effect of social economic relation upon marriage,—seeing that the
devoted servant of the family was a poor servant of society and that the
devoted servant of society was a poor servant of the family, seeing the
successful collectivity of celibate institutions,—we have jumped to the
conclusion that collective prosperity was conditioned upon celibacy, and
that we did not want it. That is why the popular mind is so ready to
associate socialistic theories with injury to marriage. Having seen that
marriage makes us less collective, we infer conversely that collectivity
will make us less married,—that it will “break up the home,” “strike at
the roots of the family.”

When we make plain to ourselves that a pure, lasting, monogamous
sex-union can exist without bribe or purchase, without the manacles of
economic dependence, and that men and women so united in sex-relation
will still be free to combine with others in economic relation, we shall
not regard devotion to humanity as an unnatural sacrifice, nor
collective prosperity as a thing to fear.

Besides this maintenance of primeval individualism in the growing
collectivity of social economic process and the introduction of the
element of sex-combat into the narrowing field of industrial
competition, there is another side to the evil influence of the
sexuo-economic relation upon social development. This is in the attitude
of woman as a non-productive consumer.

In the industrial evolution of the human race, that marvellous and
subtle drawing out and interlocking of special functions which
constitute the organic life of society, we find that production and
consumption go hand in hand; and production comes first. One cannot
consume what has not been produced. Economic production is the natural
expression of human energy,—not sex-energy at all, but race-energy,—the
unconscious functioning of the social organism. Socially organized human
beings tend to produce, as a gland to secrete: it is the essential
nature of the relation. The creative impulse, the desire to make, to
express the inner thought in outer form, “just for the work’s sake, no
use at all i’ the work!” this is the distinguishing character of
humanity. “I want to mark!” cries the child, demanding the pencil. He
does not want to eat. He wants to mark. He is not seeking to get
something into himself, but to put something out of himself. He
generally wants to do whatever he sees done,—to make pie-crust or to
make shavings, as it happens. The pie he may eat, the shavings not; but
he likes to make both. This is the natural process of production, and is
followed by the natural process of consumption, where practicable. But
consumption is not the main end, the governing force. Under this organic
social law, working naturally, we have the evolution of those arts and
crafts in the exercise of which consists our human living, and on the
product of which we live. So does society evolve within itself—secrete
as it were—the social structure with all its complex machinery; and we
function therein as naturally as so many glands, other things being

But other things are not equal. Half the human race is denied free
productive expression, is forced to confine its productive human
energies to the same channels as its reproductive sex-energies. Its
creative skill is confined to the level of immediate personal bodily
service, to the making of clothes and preparing of food for individuals.
No social service is possible. While its power of production is checked,
its power of consumption is inordinately increased by the showering upon
it of the “unearned increment” of masculine gifts. For the woman there
is, first, no free production allowed; and, second, no relation
maintained between what she does produce and what she consumes. She is
forbidden to make, but encouraged to take. Her industry is not the
natural output of creative energy, not the work she does because she has
the inner power and strength to do it; nor is her industry even the
measure of her gain. She has, of course, the natural desire to consume;
and to that is set no bar save the capacity or the will of her husband.

Thus we have painfully and laboriously evolved and carefully maintain
among us an enormous class of non-productive consumers,—a class which is
half the world, and mother of the other half. We have built into the
constitution of the human race the habit and desire of taking, as
divorced from its natural precursor and concomitant of making. We have
made for ourselves this endless array of “horse-leech’s daughters,
crying, Give! give!” To consume food, to consume clothes, to consume
houses and furniture and decorations and ornaments and amusements, to
take and take and take forever,—from one man if they are virtuous, from
many if they are vicious, but always to take and never to think of
giving anything in return except their womanhood,—this is the enforced
condition of the mothers of the race. What wonder that their sons go
into business “for what there is in it”! What wonder that the world is
full of the desire to get as much as possible and to give as little as
possible! What wonder, either, that the glory and sweetness of love are
but a name among us, with here and there a strange and beautiful
exception, of which our admiration proves the rarity!

Between the brutal ferocity of excessive male energy struggling in the
market-place as in a battlefield and the unnatural greed generated by
the perverted condition of female energy, it is not remarkable that the
industrial evolution of humanity has shown peculiar symptoms. One of the
minor effects of this last condition—this limiting of female industry to
close personal necessities, and this tendency of her over-developed
sex-nature to overestimate the so-called “duties of her position”—has
been to produce an elaborate devotion to individuals and their personal
needs,—not to the understanding and developing of their higher natures,
but to the intensification of their bodily tastes and pleasure. The wife
and mother, pouring the rising tide of racial power into the same old
channels that were allowed her primitive ancestors, constantly ministers
to the physical needs of her family with a ceaseless and concentrated
intensity. They like it, of course. But it maintains in the individuals
of the race an exaggerated sense of the importance of food and clothes
and ornaments to themselves, without at all including a knowledge of
their right use and value to us all. It developes personal selfishness.

Again, the consuming female, debarred from any free production, unable
to estimate the labor involved in the making of what she so lightly
destroys, and her consumption limited mainly to those things which
minister to physical pleasure, creates a market for sensuous decoration
and personal ornament, for all that is luxurious and enervating, and for
a false and capricious variety in such supplies, which operates as a
most deadly check to true industry and true art. As the priestess of the
temple of consumption, as the limitless demander of things to use up,
her economic influence is reactionary and injurious. Much, very much, of
the current of useless production in which our economic energies run
waste—man’s strength poured out like water on the sand—depends on the
creation and careful maintenance of this false market, this sink into
which human labor vanishes with no return. Woman, in her false economic
position, reacts injuriously upon industry, upon art, upon science,
discovery, and progress. The sexuo-economic relation in its effect on
the constitution of the individual keeps alive in us the instincts of
savage individualism which we should otherwise have well outgrown. It
sexualizes our industrial relation and commercializes our sex-relation.
And, in the external effect upon the market, the over-sexed woman, in
her unintelligent and ceaseless demands, hinders and perverts the
economic development of the world.


A condition so long established, so wide-spread, so permanent as the
sexuo-economic relation in the human species could not have been
introduced and maintained in the course of social evolution without
natural causes and uses. No wildest perversion of individual will could
permanently maintain a condition wholly injurious to society. Church and
State and social forms move and change with our growth, and we cannot
hinder them long after the time has come for further progress. Once it
was of advantage to society that the sexuo-economic relation should be
established. Now that it is no longer of advantage to society, the
“woman’s movement” has set in; and the relation is changing under our
eyes from year to year, from day to day, in spite of our traditional
opposition. The change considered in these pages is not one merely to be
prophesied and recommended: it is already taking place under the forces
of social evolution; and only needs to be made clear to our conscious
thought, that we may withdraw the futile but irritating resistance of
our misguided will.

The original necessity for this distinctive human phenomenon lies very
deep among the primal forces of social life. The relations required to
develope individual organisms failed in the further development of the
social organism of organization. Co-ordination requires first a common
interest, and then the establishment of a common consciousness. It was
for the common interest of the individual cells to obtain food easily,
and this drew them into closer relation. That relation being
established, their co-existence became a unit, an entity, a thing with a
conscious life of its own. In the fullest development of the most
elaborate organisms, this holds good. There must be a common interest to
be served by all this co-ordinate activity; and there must be a common
consciousness established, whereby to serve most easily the common
interest. When the component cells in our tissues shrink and fail for
lack of nutrition, when the several organs weary of inaction and
fretfully demand their natural exercise, the man does not say, “My
tissues need replenishment” or “My organs need exercise”: he says, “I am
hungry.” And that “I,” the personal consciousness directing the smooth
interaction of all its parts, goes to work to get food. Social evolution
rests on this common interest. Individual men are profited by social
relation; and, therefore, they enter into social relation. Such relation
requires a common consciousness, through which the co-ordinate action
may take place; and the whole course of social development is marked by
the constant extension of this social consciousness and its necessary
vehicles. Language is our largest common medium, and leads on into
literature, which is but preserved speech. The brain of man is the
social organ, the organ of communication. Through it flows the current
of thought, whereby we are enabled to work together. By so much as our
brains hold in common, we can understand each other; and, therefore,
some degree of common education is essential to free social development.

At the very beginning of this process, when the human animal was still
but an animal,—but an individual,—came the imperative demand for the
establishment of a common consciousness between these hitherto
irreconcilable individuals. The first step in nature toward this end is
found in the relation between mother and child. Where the young, after
birth, are still dependent on the mother, the functions of the one
separate living body needing the service of another separate living
body, we have the overlapping of personality, the mutual need, which
brings with it the essential instinct that holds together these
interacting personalities. That instinct we call love. The child must
have the mother’s breast. The mother’s breast must have the child.
Therefore, between mother and child was born love, long before
fatherhood was anything more than a momentary incident. But the common
consciousness, the mutual attraction between mother and child, stopped
there absolutely. It was limited in range to this closest relation; in
duration, to the period of infancy.

The common interest of human beings must be served by racial faculties,
not merely by the sex-functions of the female, or the duties of mother
to child. As the male, acting through his natural instincts, steadily
encroached upon the freedom of the female until she was reduced to the
state of economic dependence, he thereby assumed the position of
provider for this creature no longer able to provide for herself. He was
not only compelled to serve her needs, but to fulfil in his own person
the thwarted uses of maternity. He became, and has remained, a sort of
man-mother, alone in creation in his remarkable position. By this common
interest, existing now not only between mother and child, but between
father, mother, and child, grew up a wider common consciousness. And, as
the father served the child not through sex-function, but through
race-function, this service was open to far wider development and longer
duration than the mother’s alone could ever have reached. Maternal
energy is the force through which have come into the world both love and
industry. It is through the tireless activity of this desire, the
mother’s wish to serve the young, that she began the first of the arts
and crafts whereby we live. While the male savage was still a mere
hunter and fighter, expressing masculine energy, the katabolic force,
along its essential line, expanding, scattering, the female savage
worked out in equally natural ways the conserving force of female
energy. She gathered together and saved nutrition for the child, as the
germ-cell gathers and saves nutrition in the unconscious silences of
nature. She wrapped it in garments and built a shelter for its head as
naturally as the same maternal function had loved, clothed, and
sheltered the unborn. Maternal energy, working externally through our
elaborate organism, is the source of productive industry, the main
current of social life.

But not until this giant force could ally itself with others and work
co-operatively, overcoming the destructive action of male energy in its
blind competition, could our human life enter upon its full course of
racial evolution. This is what was accomplished through the suppression
of the free action of maternal energy in the female and its irresistible
expression through the male. The two forces were combined, and he was
the active factor in their manifestation. It was one of nature’s calm,
unsmiling miracles, no more wonderful than where she makes the
guileless, greedy bee, who thinks he is merely getting his dinner, serve
as an agent of reproduction to countless flowers. The bee might resent
it if he knew what office he performed, and that his dinner was only
there that he might fulfil that office. The subjection of woman has
involved to an enormous degree the maternalizing of man. Under its bonds
he has been forced into new functions, impossible to male energy alone.
He has had to learn to love and care for some one besides himself. He
has had to learn to work, to serve, to be human. Through the
sex-passion, mightily overgrown, the human race has been led and driven
up the long, steep path of progress, over all obstacles, through all
dangers, carrying its accompanying conditions of disease and sin (and
surmounting them), up and up in spite of all, until at last a degree of
evolution is reached in which the extension of human service and human
love makes possible a better way.

By the action of his own desires, through all its by-products of evil,
man was made part mother; and so both man and woman were enabled to
become human. It was an essential step in our racial progress, a means
to an end. It should not be considered as an extreme maternal sacrifice,
but as a novel and thorough system of paternal sacrifice,—the male of
genus homo coerced by sex-necessity into the expression of maternal
energy. The naturally destructive tendencies of the male have been
gradually subverted to the conservative tendencies of the female, and
this so palpably that the process is plainly to be observed throughout
history. Into the male have been bred, by natural selection and unbroken
training, the instincts and habits of the female, to his immense
improvement. The female was dependent upon the male in individual
economic relation. She was in a state of helpless slavery. She was
treated with unspeakable injustice and cruelty. But nature’s processes
go on quite undisturbed among incidents like these. To blend the
opposing sex-tendencies of two animals into the fruitful powers of a
triumphant race was a painful process, but that does not matter. It was
essential, and it has been fulfilled. There should be an end to the
bitterness of feeling which has arisen between the sexes in this
century. Right as is the change of attitude in the woman of to-day, she
need feel no resentment as to the past, no shame, no sense of wrong.
With a full knowledge of the initial superiority of her sex and the
sociological necessity for its temporary subversion, she should feel
only a deep and tender pride in the long patient ages during which she
has waited and suffered, that man might slowly rise to full racial
equality with her. She could afford to wait. She could afford to suffer.

It is high time that women began to understand their true position,
primarily and eternally, and to see how little the long years of
oppression have altered it. It was not well for the race to have the
conservative processes of life so wholly confined to the female, the
male being merely a temporary agent in reproduction and of no further
use. His size, strength, and ferocity—admirable qualities in maintaining
the life of an individual animal—were not the most desirable to develope
the human race. We needed most the quality of co-ordination,—the
facility in union, the power to make and to save rather than to spend
and to destroy. These were female qualities. Acting from his own nature,
man could not manifest traits that he did not possess. Throned as
woman’s master, chained as her servant, he has, through this strange
combination of functions, acquired these traits under the heavy law of
necessity. Originally, the two worked on divers lines, he spending and
scattering, she saving and building. She was the deep, steady, main
stream of life, and he the active variant, helping to widen and change
that life, but rather as an adjunct than as an essential. Races there
were and are which reproduce themselves without the masculine
organism,—by hermaphroditism and parthenogenesis.

As the evolution of species progressed, we find a long series of
practical experiments in males,—very tiny, transient, and inferior
devices at first, but gradually developed into fuller and fuller
equality with the female. In some of the lower forms, as in rotifers,
insects, and crustaceans, are found the most inferior males, often none
at all; and, where they do exist, they have no use save as an agent in
reproduction. The most familiar instance of this is among the bees,
where the drone, after fulfilling his functions, dies or is destroyed by
the sturdy co-mothers of the hive. The common spider, too, has a tiny
male, who tremblingly achieves his one brief purpose, and is then eaten
up by his mate. She is the spider, a permanent flycatcher. He is merely
a fertilizing agent. The little green aphis, so numerous on our
rose-bushes, can reproduce parthenogenetically so long as conditions are
good,—while it is warm and there is enough to eat; but, when conditions
grow hard, males are developed, and the dual method of reproduction is

In the two great activities of life, self-preservation and
race-preservation, the female in these lower species is better equipped
than the male for the first, and carries almost the whole burden of the
second. His short period of functional use is as nothing compared to her
long period of gestation, and the services she performs, in many cases,
in providing for her young after their birth. Race-preservation has been
almost entirely a female function, sometimes absolutely so. But it has
been proven better for the race to have two highly developed parents
rather than to have one. Therefore, sexual equality has been slowly
evolved, not only by increasing the importance of the male element in
reproduction, but by developing race-qualities in the male, so long
merely a reproductive agent. The last step of this process has been the
elevation of the male of genus homo to full racial equality with the
female, and this has involved her temporary subjection. Both her
physical and psychical tendencies have been transplanted into the
organism of the male. He has been made the working mother of the world.
The sexuo-economic relation was necessary to raise and broaden, to
deepen and sweeten, to make more feminine, and so more human, the male
of the human race. If the female had remained in full personal freedom
and activity, she would have remained superior to him, and both would
have remained stationary. Since the female had not the tendency to vary
which distinguished the male, it was essential that the expansive forces
of masculine energy be combined with the preservative and constructive
forces of feminine energy. The expansive and variable male energy,
struggling under its new necessity for constructive labor, has caused
that labor to vary and progress more than it would have done in feminine
hands alone. Out of her wealth of power and patience, liking to work, to
give, she toils on forever in the same primitive industries. He,
impatient of obstacles, not liking to work, desirous to get rather than
to give, splits his task into a thousand specialties, and invents
countless ways to lighten his labors. Male energy made to expend itself
in performing female functions is what has brought our industries to
their present development. Without the economic dependence of the
female, the male would still be merely the hunter and fighter, the
killer, the destroyer; and she would continue to be the industrious
mother, without change or progress.

            “What the children of Israel delighted in making
            The children of Egypt delighted in breaking,”

runs the old rhyme; but there is small gain in such a process. In her
subordinate position, under every disadvantage, through the very walls
of her prison, the constructive force of woman has made man its
instrument, and worked for the upbuilding of the world. As his energy
was purely individualistic, and only to be controlled by the power of
sex-attraction, it needed precisely this form of union, with its
peculiar exaggeration of sex-faculty, to hold him to his task. Woman’s
abnormal development of sex, restrained and imprisoned by every law, has
acted like a coiled spring upon the only free agent in society,—man.
Under its intense stimulus he has moved mountains. All the world has
seen it; and we have always murmured admiringly, “Oh, ’tis love, ’tis
love, ’tis love that makes the world go round.” It has done so, indeed,
or, at least, has driven man round the world in one long range of
struggle and conquest, of work and war. And every man who loves, and
says, “I am yours: do with me what you will,” knows the power, and
honors it.

Human development thus far has proceeded in the male line, under the
force of male energy, spurred by sex-stimulus, and by the vast storage
battery of female energy suppressed. Women can well afford their period
of subjection for the sake of a conquered world, a civilized man. In
spite of the agony of the process, the black, long ages of shame and
pain and horror, women should remember that they are still here; and,
thanks to the blessed power of heredity, they are not so far aborted
that a few generations of freedom will not set them abreast of the age.
When the centuries of slavery and dishonor, of torture and death, of
biting injustice and slow, suffocating repression, seem long to women,
let them remember the geologic ages, the millions and millions of years
when puny, pygmy, parasitic males struggled for existence, and were used
or not, as it happened, like a half-tried patent medicine. What train of
wives and concubines was ever so ignominiously placed as the extra
husbands carried among the scales of the careful female cirriped, lest
she lose one or two! What neglect of faded wives can compare with the
scorned, unnoticed death of the drone bee, starved, stung, shut out,
walled up in wax, kept only for his momentary sex-function, and not
absolutely necessary for that! What Bluebeard tragedy or cruelty of
bride-murdering Eastern king can emulate the ruthless slaughter of the
hapless little male spider, used by his ferocious mate “to coldly
furnish forth a marriage breakfast”! Never once in the history of
humanity has any outrage upon women compared with these sweeping
sacrifices of helpless males in earlier species. The female has been
dominant for the main duration of life on earth. She has been easily
equal always up to our own race; and in our race she has been subjugated
to the male during the earlier period of development for such enormous
racial gain, such beautiful and noble uses, that the sacrifice should
never be mentioned nor thought of by a womanhood that knows its power.
For the upbuilding of human life on earth she could afford to have her
own held back; and—closer, tenderer, lovelier service—for the raising of
her fierce sex-mate to a free and gentle brotherhood, for the uplifting
of the human soul in her dear son, she could have borne not only this,
but more,—borne it smilingly, ungrudgingly, gladly, for his sake and the

And now that the long strain is over, now that the time has come when
neither he nor the world is any longer benefited by her subordination,
now that she is coming steadily out into direct personal expression,
into the joy of racial action in full freedom, of power upon the throne
instead of behind it, it is unworthy of this supreme new birth to waste
one regret upon the pain that had to be.

Thus it may be seen that, even allowing for the injury to the individual
and to society through the check to race-development and the increase of
sex-development in woman, with its transmitted effects; allowing,
further, that our highly specialized motherhood cannot be shown to be an
advantage to humanity,—still it remains true that our sexuo-economic
relation, with its effect of carrying on human life through the male
side only, in activities driven by intensified sex-energy, has reacted
to the benefit of the individual and of the race in many ways, as
already suggested: in the extension of female function through the male;
in the blending of faculties which have resulted in the possibility of
our civilization; in the superior fighting power developed in the male,
and its effects in race-conquest, military and commercial; in the
increased productivity developed by his assumption of maternal function;
and by the sex-relation becoming mainly proportioned to his power to pay
for it. Even motherhood has been indirectly the gainer in that, although
the mother herself has been checked in direct maternal service, serving
the race far more through her stimulation of male activities than
through any activities of her own; yet the child has ultimately profited
more by the materno-paternal services than he would have done by the
maternal services alone.

All this may be granted as having been true in the past. And many,
reassured by this frank admission, will ask, if it is so clear that the
subjection of woman was useful, that this evil-working, monstrous
sexuo-economic relation was after all of racial advantage, how we know
that it is time to change. Principally, because we are changing. Social
development is not caused by the promulgators of theories and by the
writers of books. When Rousseau wrote of equality, free France was being
born,—the spirit of the times thrilled through the human mind; and those
who had ears to hear heard, those who had pens to write wrote. The
condition of chattel slavery, working to its natural end, roused
Garrison and Phillips and Harriet Beecher Stowe. They did not make the
movement. The period of women’s economic dependence is drawing to a
close, because its racial usefulness is wearing out. We have already
reached a stage of human relation where we feel the strength of social
duty pull against the sex-ties that have been for so long the only ties
that we have recognized. The common consciousness of humanity, the sense
of social need and social duty, is making itself felt in both men and
women. The time has come when we are open to deeper and wider impulses
than the sex-instinct; the social instincts are strong enough to come
into full use at last. This is shown by the twin struggle that convulses
the world to-day,—in sex and economics,—the “woman’s movement” and the
“labor movement.” Neither name is wholly correct. Both make a class
issue of what is in truth a social issue, a question involving every
human interest. But the women naturally feel most the growing healthful
pain of their position. They personally revolt, and think it is they who
are most to be benefited. Similarly, since the “laboring classes” feel
most the growing healthful pain of their position, they as naturally
revolt under the same conviction. Sociologically, these conditions,
which some find so painful and alarming, mean but one thing,—the
increase of social consciousness. The progress of social organization
has produced a corresponding degree of individualization, which has
reached at last even to women,—even to the lowest grade of unskilled
labor. This higher degree of individualization means a sharp personal
consciousness of the evils of a situation hitherto little felt. With
this higher growth of individual consciousness, and forming a part of
it, comes the commensurate growth of social consciousness. We have grown
to care for one another.

The woman’s movement rests not alone on her larger personality, with its
tingling sense of revolt against injustice, but on the wide, deep
sympathy of women for one another. It is a concerted movement, based on
the recognition of a common evil and seeking a common good. So with the
labor movement. It is not alone that the individual laborer is a better
educated, more highly developed man than the stolid peasant of earlier
days, but also that with this keener personal consciousness has come the
wider social consciousness, without which no class can better its
conditions. The traits incident to our sexuo-economic relation have
developed till they forbid the continuance of that relation. In the
economic world, excessive masculinity, in its fierce competition and
primitive individualism; and excessive femininity, in its inordinate
consumption and hindering conservatism; have reached a stage where they
work more evil than good.

The increasing specialization of the modern woman, acquired by
inheritance from the ceaselessly specializing male, makes her growing
racial faculties strain against the primitive restrictions of a purely
sexual relation. The desire to produce—the distinctive human quality—is
no longer satisfied with a status that allows only reproduction. In our
present stage of social evolution it is increasingly difficult and
painful for women to endure their condition of economic dependence, and
therefore they are leaving it. This does not mean that at a given day
all women will stand forth free together, but that in slowly gathering
numbers, now so great that all the world can see, women in the most
advanced races are so standing free. Great advances along social lines
come slowly, like the many-waved progress of the tide: they are not
sudden jumps over yawning chasms.

But, besides this first plain perception that our strange relation is
coming to an end, we may see how in its own working it developes forces
which must end it or us. The method of action of our peculiar cat’s-paw
combination of the sexes—the mother-father doing the work of the
helpless creature he carries on his back; the parasite mate devouring
even when she should most feed—has been this, as repeatedly shown:
because of sex-desire the male subjugates the female. Lest he lose her,
he feeds her, and, perforce, her young. She, obtaining food through the
sex-relation, becomes over-sexed, and acts with constantly increasing
stimulus on his sex-activities; and, as these activities are made
economic by their relation, she so stimulates industry and all progress.
But,—and here is the natural end of an unnatural position, a position
that serves its purpose for a time, but holds in itself the seeds of its
own destruction,—through the unchecked sex-energy, accumulated under the
abnormal pressure of the economic side of the relation, such excess is
developed as tends to destroy both individual and race; and such psychic
qualities are developed as tend also to our injury and extinction.

A relation that inevitably produces abnormal development cannot be
permanently maintained. The intensification of sex-energy as a social
force results in such limitless exaggeration of sex-instinct as finds
expression sexually in the unnatural vices of advanced civilization,
and, socially, in the strained economic relation between producer and
consumer which breaks society in two. The sexuo-economic relation serves
to bring social development to a certain level. After that level is
reached, a higher relation must be adopted, or the lifting process comes
to an end; and either the race succumbs to the morbid action of its own
forces or some fresher race comes in, and begins the course of social
evolution anew.

Under the stimulus of the sexuo-economic relation, one civilization
after another has climbed up and fallen down in weary succession. It
remains for us to develope a newer, better form of sex-relation and of
economic relation therewith, and so to grasp the fruits of all previous
civilizations, and grow on to the beautiful results of higher ones. The
true and lasting social progress, beyond that which we have yet made, is
based on a spirit of inter-human love, not merely the inter-sexual; and
it requires an economic machinery organized and functioned for human
needs, not sexual ones. The sexuo-economic relation drives man up to
where he can become fully human. It deepens and developes the human soul
until it is able to conceive and fulfil the larger social uses in which
our further life must find expression. But, unless the human soul sees
these new forces, feels them, gives way to them in loyal service, it
fails to reach the level from which all further progress must proceed,
and falls back. Again and again society has so risen, so failed to grasp
new duties, so fallen back.

To-day it will not so fall again, because the social consciousness is at
last so vital a force in both men and women that we feel clearly that
our human life cannot be fully lived on sex-lines only. We are so far
individualized, so far socialized, that men can work without the tearing
spur of exaggerated sex-stimulus, work for some one besides mate and
young; and women can love and serve without the slavery of economic
dependence,—love better and serve more. Sex-stimulus begins and ends in
individuals. The social spirit is a larger thing, a better thing, and
brings with it a larger, nobler life than we could ever know on a
sex-basis solely.

Moreover, it should be distinctly understood, as it is already widely
and vaguely felt, that the higher development of social life following
the economic independence of women makes possible a higher sex-life than
has ever yet been known. As fast as the human individual rises in social
progress to a certain degree of development, so fast this primitive form
of sex-union chafes and drags: it is felt to be unsatisfying and
injurious. This is a marked feature in modern life. The long, sure,
upward trend of the human race toward monogamous marriage is no longer
helped, but hindered by the economic side of the relation. The best
marriage is between the best individuals; and the best individuals of
both sexes to-day are increasingly injured by the economic basis of our
marriage, which produces and maintains those qualities in men and women
and their resultant industrial conditions which make marriage more
difficult and precarious every day.

The woman’s movement, then, should be hailed by every right-thinking,
far-seeing man and woman as the best birth of our century. The banner
advanced proclaims “equality before the law,” woman’s share in political
freedom; but the main line of progress is and has been toward economic
equality and freedom. While life exists on earth, the economic
conditions must underlie and dominate each existing form and its
activities; and social life is no exception. A society whose economic
unit is a sex-union can no more develope beyond a certain point
industrially than a society like the patriarchal, whose political unit
was a sex-union, could develope beyond a certain point politically.

The last freeing of the individual makes possible the last combination
of individuals. While sons must bend to the will of a patriarchal
father, no democracy is possible. Democracy means, requires, is,
individual liberty. While the sexuo-economic relation makes the family
the centre of industrial activity, no higher collectivity than we have
to-day is possible. But, as women become free, economic, social factors,
so becomes possible the full social combination of individuals in
collective industry. With such freedom, such independence, such wider
union, becomes possible also a union between man and woman such as the
world has long dreamed of in vain.


In the face of so vital and radical a change in human life as this
change of economic base in the position of women, it is well to call
attention more at length to the illustrations of every-day facts in our
common lives, which he who runs may read, if he knows how to read. We do
not, as a rule, know how to read the most important messages to
humanity,—the signs of the times. Historic crises, which have been
slowly maturing, burst upon us in sudden birth before the majority of
the people imagine that anything is going on. The first gun fired at
Fort Sumter was an extreme surprise to most of the citizens of the
Union. The Boston Tea Party was, no doubt, an unaccountable piece of
insolence to many worthy Britons. When “the deluge” did pour over the
_noblesse_ of France, few had been really foreseeing enough to avoid it.

Fortunately, the laws of social evolution do not wait for our
recognition or acceptance: they go straight on. And this greater and
more important change than the world has ever seen, this slow emergence
of the long-subverted human female to full racial equality, has been
going on about us full long enough to be observed. It is seen more
prominently in this country than in any other, for many reasons.

The Anglo-Saxon blood, that English mixture of which Tennyson
sings,—“Saxon and Norman and Dane though we be,”—is the most powerful
expression of the latest current of fresh racial life from the
north,—from those sturdy races where the women were more like men, and
the men no less manly because of it. The strong, fresh spirit of
religious revolt in the new church that protested against and broke
loose from the old, woke and stirred the soul of woman as well as the
soul of man, and in the equality of martyrdom the sexes learned to stand
side by side. Then, in the daring and exposure, the strenuous labor and
bitter hardship of the pioneer life of the early settlers, woman’s very
presence was at a premium; and her labor had a high economic value.
Sex-dependence was almost unfelt. She who moulded the bullets, and
loaded the guns while the men fired them, was co-defender of the home
and young. She who carded and dyed and wove and spun was co-provider for
the family. Men and women prayed together, worked together, and fought
together in comparative equality. More than all, the development of
democracy has brought to us the fullest individualization that the world
has ever seen. Although politically expressed by men alone, the
character it has produced is inherited by their daughters. The Federal
Democracy in its organic union, reacting upon individuals, has so
strengthened, freed, emboldened, the human soul in America that we have
thrown off slavery, and with the same impulse have set in motion the
long struggle toward securing woman’s fuller equality before the law.

This struggle has been carried on unflaggingly for fifty years, and fast
nears its victorious end. It is not only in the four States where full
suffrage is exercised by both sexes, nor in the twenty-four where
partial suffrage is given to women, that we are to count progress; but
in the changes legal and social, mental and physical, which mark the
advance of the mother of the world toward her full place. Have we not
all observed the change even in size of the modern woman, with its
accompanying strength and agility? The Gibson Girl and the Duchess of
Towers,—these are the new women; and they represent a noble type,
indeed. The heroines of romance and drama to-day are of a different sort
from the Evelinas and Arabellas of the last century. Not only do they
look differently, they behave differently. The false sentimentality, the
false delicacy, the false modesty, the utter falseness of elaborate
compliment and servile gallantry which went with the other
falsehoods,—all these are disappearing. Women are growing honester,
braver, stronger, more healthful and skilful and able and free, more
human in all ways.

The change in education is in large part a cause of this, and
progressively a consequence. Day by day the bars go down. More and more
the field lies open for the mind of woman to glean all it can, and it
has responded most eagerly. Not only our pupils, but our teachers, are
mainly women. And the clearness and strength of the brain of the woman
prove continually the injustice of the clamorous contempt long poured
upon what was scornfully called “the female mind.” There is no female
mind. The brain is not an organ of sex. As well speak of a female liver.

Woman’s progress in the arts and sciences, the trades and professions,
is steady; but it is most unwise to claim from these relative advances
the superiority of women to men, or even their equality, in these
fields. What is more to the purpose and easily to be shown is the
superiority of the women of to-day to those of earlier times, the
immense new development of racial qualities in the sex. No modern
proverbs, if we expressed ourselves in proverbs now, would speak with
such sweeping, unbroken contumely of the women of to-day as did those
unerring exhibitors of popular feeling in former times.

The popular thought of our day is voiced in fiction, fluent verse, and
an incessant play of humor. By what is freely written by most authors
and freely read by most people is shown our change in circumstances and
change in feeling. In old romances the woman was nothing save beautiful,
high-born, virtuous, and perhaps “accomplished.” She did nothing but
love and hate, obey or disobey, and be handed here and there among
villain, hero, and outraged parent, screaming, fainting, or bursting
into floods of tears as seemed called for by the occasion.

In the fiction of to-day women are continually taking larger place in
the action of the story. They are given personal characteristics beyond
those of physical beauty. And they are no longer content simply to _be_:
they _do_. They are showing qualities of bravery, endurance, strength,
foresight, and power for the swift execution of well-conceived plans.
They have ideas and purposes of their own; and even when, as in so many
cases described by the more reactionary novelists, the efforts of the
heroine are shown to be entirely futile, and she comes back with a rush
to the self-effacement of marriage with economic dependence, still the
efforts were there. Disapprove as he may, use his art to oppose and
contemn as he may, the true novelist is forced to chronicle the
distinctive features of his time; and no feature is more distinctive of
this time than the increasing individualization of women. With lighter
touch, but with equally unerring truth, the wit and humor of the day
show the same development. The majority of our current jokes on women
turn on their “newness,” their advance.

No sociological change equal in importance to this clearly marked
improvement of an entire sex has ever taken place in one century. Under
it all, the _crux_ of the whole matter, goes on the one great change,
that of the economic relation. This follows perfectly natural lines.
Just as the development of machinery constantly lowers the importance of
mere brute strength of body and raises that of mental power and skill,
so the pressure of industrial conditions demands an ever-higher
specialization, and tends to break up that relic of the patriarchal
age,—the family as an economic unit.

Women have been led under pressure of necessity into a most reluctant
entrance upon fields of economic activity. The sluggish and greedy
disposition bred of long ages of dependence has by no means welcomed the
change. Most women still work only as they “have to,” until they can
marry and “be supported.” Men, too, liking the power that goes with
money, and the poor quality of gratitude and affection bought with it,
resent and oppose the change; but all this disturbs very little the
course of social progress.

A truer spirit is the increasing desire of young girls to be
independent, to have a career of their own, at least for a while, and
the growing objection of countless wives to the pitiful asking for
money, to the beggary of their position. More and more do fathers give
their daughters, and husbands their wives, a definite allowance,—a
separate bank account,—something which they can play is all their own.
The spirit of personal independence in the women of to-day is sure proof
that a change has come.

For a while the introduction of machinery which took away from the home
so many industries deprived woman of any importance as an economic
factor; but presently she arose, and followed her lost wheel and loom to
their new place, the mill. To-day there is hardly an industry in the
land in which some women are not found. Everywhere throughout America
are women workers outside the unpaid labor of the home, the last census
giving three million of them. This is so patent a fact, and makes itself
felt in so many ways by so many persons, that it is frequently and
widely discussed. Without here going into its immediate advantages or
disadvantages from an industrial point of view, it is merely instanced
as an undeniable proof of the radical change in the economic position of
women that is advancing upon us. She is assuming new relations from year
to year before our eyes; but we, seeing all social facts from a personal
point of view, have failed to appreciate the nature of the change.

Consider, too, the altered family relation which attends this movement.
Entirely aside from the strained relation in marriage, the other
branches of family life feel the strange new forces, and respond to
them. “When I was a girl,” sighs the gray-haired mother, “we sisters all
sat and sewed while mother read to us. Now every one of my daughters has
a different club!” She sighs, be it observed. We invariably object to
changed conditions in those departments of life where we have
established ethical values. For all the daughters to sew while the
mother read aloud to them was esteemed right; and, therefore, the
radiating diffusion of daughters among clubs is esteemed wrong,—a danger
to home life. In the period of the common sewing and reading the women
so assembled were closely allied in industrial and intellectual
development as well as in family relationship. They all could do the
same work, and liked to do it. They all could read the same book, and
liked to read it. (And reading, half a century ago, was still considered
half a virtue and the other half a fine art.) Hence the ease with which
this group of women entered upon their common work and common pleasure.

The growing individualization of democratic life brings inevitable
change to our daughters as well as to our sons. Girls do not all like to
sew, many do not know how. Now to sit sewing together, instead of being
a harmonizing process, would generate different degrees of restlessness,
of distaste, and of nervous irritation. And, as to the reading aloud, it
is not so easy now to choose a book that a well-educated family of
modern girls and their mother would all enjoy together. As the race
become more specialized, more differentiated, the simple lines of
relation in family life draw with less force, and the more complex lines
of relation in social life draw with more force; and this is a perfectly
natural and desirable process for women as well as for men.

It may be suggested, in passing, that one of the causes of
“Americanitis” is this increasing nervous strain in family relation,
acting especially upon woman. As she becomes more individualized, she
suffers more from the primitive and undifferentiated conditions of the
family life of earlier times. What “a wife” and “a mother” was supposed
to find perfectly suitable, this newly specialized wife and mother, who
is also a personality, finds clumsy and ill-fitting,—a mitten where she
wants a glove. The home cares and industries, still undeveloped, give no
play for her increasing specialization. Where the embryonic combination
of cook-nurse-laundress-chambermaid-housekeeper-waitress-governess was
content to be “jack of all trades” and mistress of none, the woman who
is able to be one of these things perfectly, and by so much less able to
be all the others, suffers doubly from not being able to do what she
wants to do, and from being forced to do what she does not want to do.
To the delicately differentiated modern brain the jar and shock of
changing from trade to trade a dozen times a day is a distinct injury, a
waste of nervous force. With the larger socialization of the woman of
to-day, the fitness for and accompanying desire for wider combinations,
more general interest, more organized methods of work for larger ends,
she feels more and more heavily the intensely personal limits of the
more primitive home duties, interests, methods. And this pain and strain
must increase with the advance of women until the new functional power
makes to itself organic expression, and the belated home industries are
elevated and organized, like the other necessary labors of modern life.

In the meantime, however, the very best and foremost women suffer most;
and a heavy check is placed on social progress by this difficulty in
enlarging old conditions to suit new powers. It should still be
remembered it is not the essential relations of wife and mother which
are thus injurious, but the industrial conditions born of the economic
dependence of the wife and mother, and hitherto supposed to be part of
her functions. The change we are making does not in any way militate
against the true relations of the family, marriage, and parentage, but
only against those sub-relations belonging to an earlier period and now
in process of extinction. The family as an entity, an economic and
social unit, does not hold as it did. The ties between brother and
sister, cousins and relatives generally, are gradually lessening their
hold, and giving way under pressure of new forces which tend toward
better things.

The change is more perceptible among women than among men, because of
the longer survival of more primitive phases of family life in them. One
of its most noticeable features is the demand in women not only for
their own money, but for their own work for the sake of personal
expression. Those who object to women’s working on the ground that they
should not compete with men or be forced to struggle for existence look
only at work as a means of earning money. They should remember that
human labor is an exercise of faculty, without which we should cease to
be human; that to do and to make not only gives deep pleasure, but is
indispensable to healthy growth. Few girls to-day fail to manifest some
signs of this desire for individual expression. It is not only in the
classes who are forced to it: even among the rich we find this same
stirring of normal race-energy. To carve in wood, to hammer brass, to do
“art dressmaking,” to raise mushrooms in the cellar,—our girls are all
wanting to do something individually. It is a most healthy state, and
marks the development of race-distinction in women with a corresponding
lowering of sex-distinction to its normal place.

In body and brain, wherever she touches life, woman is changing
gloriously from the mere creature of sex, all her race-functions held in
abeyance, to the fully developed human being, none the less true woman
for being more truly human. What alarms and displeases us in seeing
these things is our funny misconception that race-functions are
masculine. Much effort is wasted in showing that women will become
“unsexed” and “masculine” by assuming these human duties. We are told
that a slight sex-distinction is characteristic of infancy and old age,
and that the assumption of opposite traits by either sex shows either a
decadent or an undeveloped condition. The young of any race are less
marked by sex-distinction; and in old age the distinguishing traits are
sometimes exchanged, as in the crowing of old hens and in the growing of
the beard on old women. And we are therefore assured that the endeavor
of women to perform these masculine economic functions marks a decadent
civilization, and is greatly to be deprecated. There would be some
reason in this objection if the common racial activities of humanity,
into which women are now so eagerly entering, were masculine functions.
But they are not. There is no more sublimated expression of our morbid
ideas of sex-distinction than in this complacent claiming of all human
life-processes as sex-functions of the male. “Masculine” and “feminine”
are only to be predicated of reproductive functions,—processes of
race-preservation. The processes of self-preservation are racial,
peculiar to the species, but common to either sex.

If it could be shown that the women of to-day were growing beards, were
changing as to pelvic bones, were developing bass voices, or that in
their new activities they were manifesting the destructive energy, the
brutal combative instinct, or the intense sex-vanity of the male, then
there would be cause for alarm. But the one thing that has been shown in
what study we have been able to make of women in industry is that they
are women still, and this seems to be a surprise to many worthy souls. A
female horse is no less female than a female starfish, but she has more
functions. She can do more things, is a more highly specialized
organism, has more intelligence, and, with it all, is even more feminine
in her more elaborate and farther-reaching processes of reproduction. So
the “new woman” will be no less female than the “old” woman, though she
has more functions, can do more things, is a more highly specialized
organism, has more intelligence. She will be, with it all, more
feminine, in that she will develope far more efficient processes of
caring for the young of the human race than our present wasteful and
grievous method, by which we lose fifty per cent. of them, like a
codfish. The average married pair, says the scientific dictator, in all
sobriety, should have four children merely to preserve our present
population, two to replace themselves and two to die,—a pleasant method
this, and redounding greatly to the credit of our motherhood.

The rapid extension of function in the modern woman has nothing to do
with any exchange of masculine and feminine traits: it is simply an
advance in human development of traits common to both sexes, and is
wholly good in its results. No one who looks at the life about us can
fail to see the alteration going on. It is a pity that we so fail to
estimate its value. On the other hand, the growth and kindling intensity
of the social consciousness among us all is as conspicuous a feature of
modern life as the change in woman’s position, and closely allied

Never before have people cared so much about other people. From its
first expression in greater kindliness and helpfulness toward individual
human beings to its last expression in the vague, blind, groping
movements toward international justice and law, the heart of the world
is alive and stirring to-day. The whole social body is affected with
sudden shudders of feeling over some world calamity or world rejoicing.
When the message of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” ran from heart to heart around
the world, kindling a streak of fire, the fire of human love and
sympathy which is latent in us all and longing always for some avenue of
common expression, it proved that in every civilized land of our time
the people are of one mind on some subjects. Nothing could have so
spread and so awakened a response in the Periclean, the Augustan, or
even the Elizabethan age; for humanity was not then so far socialized
and so far individualized as to be capable of such a general feeling.

Invention and the discoveries of science are steadily unifying the world
to-day. The statement is frequently advanced that the minds of the men
of Greece or of the great thinkers of the Middle Ages were stronger and
larger than the minds of the men of to-day. Perhaps they were. So were
the bodies of the megatherium and the ichthyosaurus stronger and larger
than the bodies of the animals of to-day. Yet they were lower in the
scale of organic evolution. The ability of the individual is not so much
the criterion of social progress as that organic relation of individuals
which makes the progress of each available to all. Emerson has done more
for America than Plato could do for Greece. Indeed, Plato has done more
for America than he could do for Greece, because the printing-press and
the public school have made thought more freely and easily

Human progress lies in the perfecting of the social organization, and it
is here that the changes of our day are most marked. Whereas, in more
primitive societies, injuries were only felt by the individual as they
affected his own body or direct personal interests, and later his own
nation or church, to-day there is a growing sensitiveness to social
injuries, even to other nations. The civilized world has suffered in
Armenia’s agony, even though the machinery of social expression is yet
unable fully to carry out the social feeling or the social will.
Function comes before organ always; and the human heart and mind, which
are the social heart and mind, must feel and think long before the
social body can act in full expression.

Social sympathy and thought are growing more intense and active every
day. In our cumbrous efforts at international arbitration, in the
half-hearted alliances and agreements between great peoples, in the
linking of humanity together across ocean and mountain and desert plain
by steam and electricity, in the establishment of such world-functions
as the international postal service,—in these, externally, our social
unity has begun to act. In the more familiar field of personal life, who
has not seen how unceasingly many of us are occupied in the interests of
the community, even to the injury of our own? The rising manifestations
of social interest among women were covered with ridicule at first,
through such characters as Mrs. Jellyby or Mrs. Pardiggle, although a
few women who were so great and so identified with religion and
philanthropy as to command respect, women like the saintly Elizabeth
Fry, Florence Nightingale, and Clara Barton, escaped. But both belong to
the same age, are part of the same phenomena. To-day there is hardly a
woman of intelligence in all America, to say nothing of other countries,
who is not definitely and actively concerned in some social interest,
who does not recognize some duty besides those incident to her own blood

The woman’s club movement is one of the most important sociological
phenomena of the century,—indeed, of all centuries,—marking as it does
the first timid steps toward social organization of these so long
unsocialized members of our race. Social life is absolutely conditioned
upon organization. The military organizations which promote peace, the
industrial organizations which maintain life, and all the educational,
religious, and charitable organizations which serve our higher needs
constitute the essential factors of that social activity in which, as
individuals, we live and grow; and it is plain, therefore, that while
women had no part in these organizations they had no part in social
life. Their main relation to society was an individual one, an animal
one, a sexual one. They produced the people of whom society was made,
but they were not society. Of course, they were indispensable in this
capacity; but one might as well call food a part of society because
people could not exist without eating as to call women a social factor
because people could not exist without being born. Women have made the
people who made the world, and will always continue so to do. But they
have heretofore had a most insignificant part in the world their sons
have made.

The only form of organization possible to women was for long the
celibate religious community. This has always been dear to them; and, as
to-day many avoid undesired marriage for the sake of “independence,” so
in earlier times many fled from undesired marriage to the communal
independence of the convent. The fondness of women for the church has
been based, not only on religious feeling, but on the force of the human
longing for co-ordinate interest and activities; and only here could
this be gratified. In the church at least they could be together. They
could feel in common and act in common,—the deepest human joy. As the
church has widened its activities, it has found everywhere in women its
most valuable and eager workers. To labor together, together to raise
funds for a common end, for a new building or a new minister, for local
charities or for foreign missions,—but to labor together, and for other
needs than those of the family relation,—this has always met glad
response from the struggling human soul in woman. When it became
possible to work together for other than religious ends,—when large
social service was made possible to women, as in our sanitary commission
during the last war,—women everywhere rose to meet the need. The rise
and spread of that greatest of women’s organizations, the Woman’s
Christian Temperance Union, has shown anew how ready is the heart of
woman to answer the demands of other than personal relations.

And now the whole country is budding into women’s clubs. The clubs are
uniting and federating by towns, States, nations: there are even world
organizations. The sense of human unity is growing daily among women.
Not to see it is impossible. Not to watch with pleasure and admiration
this new growth in social life, this sudden and enormous re-enforcement
of our best forces from the very springs of life, only shows how blind
we are to true human advantage, how besotted in our fondness for
sex-distinction in excess.

One of the most valuable features of this vast line of progress is the
new heroism it is pouring into life. The crumbling and flattening of
ambitions and ideals under pressure of our modern business life is a
patent fact. We are growing to surrender taste and conscience and honor
itself to the demands of business success, prostituting the noblest
talents to the most ignoble uses with that last excuse of cowardice,—“A
man must live.” Into this phase of life comes a new spirit,—the spirit
of such women as Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony; of Dr.
Elizabeth Blackwell and her splendid sisterhood; of all the women who
have battled and suffered for half a century, forcing their way, with
sacrifices never to be told, into the field of freedom so long denied
them,—not for themselves alone, but for one another. We have loudly
cried out at the injury to the home and family which are supposed to
follow such a course. We have unsparingly ridiculed the unattractive and
unfeminine among these vanguard workers. But few have thought what
manner of spirit it must take to leave the dear old easy paths so long
trodden by so many feet, and go to hew out new ones alone. The nature of
the effort involved and the nature of the opposition incurred conduced
to lessen the soft charms and graces of the ultra-feminine state; but
the women who follow and climb swiftly up the steps which these great
leaders so laboriously built may do the new work in the new places, and
still keep much of what these strenuous heroes had to lose.

It is not being a doctor that makes a woman unwomanly, but the treatment
which the first women medical students and physicians received was such
as to make even men unmanly. That time is largely past. The gates are
nearly all open, at least in some places; and the racial activities of
women are free to develope as rapidly as the nature of the case will
allow. The main struggle now is with the distorted nature of the
creature herself. Grand as are the women who embody at whatever cost the
highest spirit of the age, there still remains to us the heavy legacy of
the years behind,—the innumerable weak and little women, with the
aspirations of an affectionate guinea pig. The soul of woman must speak
through the long accumulations of her intensified sex-nature, through
the uncertain impulses of a starved and thwarted class. She must
recognize that she is handicapped. She must understand her difficulty,
and meet it bravely and firmly.

But this is a matter for personal volition, for subjective
consciousness. The thing to see and to rejoice in is that, with and
without their conscious volition, with or without the approval and
assistance of men, in spite of that crowning imbecility of history,—the
banded opposition of some women to the advance of the others,—the female
of our race is making sure and rapid progress in human development.


The main justification for the subjection of women, which is commonly
advanced, is the alleged advantage to motherhood resultant from her
extreme specialization to the uses of maternity under this condition.

There are two weak points in this position. One is that the advantage to
motherhood cannot be proved: the other, that it is not the uses of
maternity to which she is specialized, but the uses of sex-indulgence.
So far from the economic dependence of women working in the interests of
motherhood, it is the steadily acting cause of a pathological maternity
and a decreasing birth-rate.

In simple early times there was a period when women were economically
profited by child-bearing; when, indeed, that was their sole use, and,
failing it, they were entitled to no respect or profit whatever. Such a
condition tended to increase the quantity of children, if not the
quality. With industrial development and the increasing weight of
economic cares upon the shoulders of the man, children come to be looked
upon as a burden, and are dreaded instead of desired by the hard-worked
father. They subtract from the family income; and the mother, absolutely
dependent upon that income and also overworked in her position of unpaid
house-servant, is not impelled to court maternity by any economic
pressure. In the working classes—to which the great majority of people
belong—the woman is by no means “segregated to the uses of maternity.”
Among the most intelligent and conscientious workingmen to-day there is
a strong feeling against large families, and a consistent effort is made
to prevent them.

Lest this be considered as not bearing directly upon the economic
position of women, but rather on the general status of the working
classes, let us examine the same condition among the wealthy. It is here
that the economic dependence of women is carried to its extreme. The
daughters and wives of the rich fail to perform even the domestic
service expected of the women of poorer families. They are from birth to
death absolutely non-productive in goods or labor of economic value, and
consumers of such goods and labor to an extent limited only by the
purchasing power of their male relatives. In this condition the economic
advantage of the woman, married or unmarried, not merely in food and
clothes, but in such social advantage as she desires, lies in her power
to attract and hold the devotion of men; and this power is not the power
of maternity. On the contrary, maternity, by lowering the personal
charms and occupying the time of the mother, fails to bring her the
pleasure and profit obtainable by the woman who is not a mother. It is
through the sex-relation minus its natural consequence that she profits
most; and, therefore, the force of economic advantage acts against
maternity instead of toward it.

In the last extreme this is clear to all in the full flower of the
sexuo-economic relation,—prostitution, than which nothing runs more
absolutely counter to the improvement of the race through maternity.
Specialization to uses of maternity, as in the queen bee, is one thing.
Specialization to uses of sex without maternity is quite another. Yet
this popular opinion, that we as a race are greatly benefited by having
all our women saved from direct economic activity, and so allowed to
concentrate all their energies on the beautiful work of motherhood,
remains strong among us.

In _The Forum_ for November, 1888, Lester F. Ward published a paper
called “Our Better Halves,” in which was clearly shown the biological
supremacy of the female sex. This naturally aroused much discussion; and
in an answering article, “Woman’s Place in Nature” (_The Forum_, May,
1889), Mr. Grant Allen very thoroughly states the general view on this
subject. He says of woman: “I believe it to be true that she is very
much less the race than man; that she is, indeed, not even half the race
at present, but rather a part of it told specially off for the
continuance of the species, just as truly as drones or male spiders are
parts of their species told off for the performance of male-functions,
or as ‘rotund’ honey ants are individual insects told off to act as
living honey jars to the community. She is the sex sacrificed to
reproductive necessities.”

Since biological facts point to the very gradual introduction and
development of the male organism solely as a reproductive necessity, and
since women are sacrificed not to reproductive necessities, but to a
most unnecessary and injurious degree of sex-indulgence under economic
necessity, such a statement as Mr. Grant Allen’s has elements of humor.
The opinion is held, however, not only by the special students of
biology and sociology, but by the general public, and demands most
careful attention. Those holding such a view may admit the
over-development of sex consequent upon the economic relation between
men and women, and the train of evils, individual and social, following
that over-development. They may even admit, further, something of the
alleged injury to economic evolution. But they will claim in answer that
these morbid conditions are essential to human progress, and that the
good to humanity through the segregation of the female to the uses of
maternity overbalances the evil, great as this is; also, conversely,
that the gain to the individual and to society to be obtained by the
economic freedom of the female would be more than offset by the loss to
the race caused by the removal of our highly specialized motherhood.

To meet this, it is necessary to show that our highly specialized
motherhood is not so advantageous as believed; that it is below rather
than above the efficacy of motherhood in other species; that its
deficiency is due to the sexuo-economic relation; that the restoration
of economic freedom to the female will improve motherhood; and, finally,
to indicate in some sort the lines of social and individual development
along which this improvement may be “practically” manifested.

In approaching this subject, we need something of special mental
preparation. We need to realize that our ideas upon this theme are
peculiarly colored by prejudice, that in no other field of thought are
we so blinded by our emotions. We have felt more on this subject than on
any other, and thought less. We have also felt much on the relation of
the sexes; but it has been made a subject of study, of comparison, of
speculation. There are differences of feeling on the sex question, but
as to motherhood none. Here and there, to be sure, some isolated
philosopher, a Plato, a Rousseau, dares advance some thought on this
ground; but, on the whole, no theme of commensurate importance has been
so little studied. More sacred than religion, more binding than the law,
more habitual than methods of eating, we are each and all born into the
accepted idea of motherhood and trained in it; and in maturity we hand
it down unquestioningly. A man may question the purposes and methods of
his God with less danger of outcry against him than if he dare to
question the purposes and methods of his mother. This matriolatry is a
sentiment so deep-seated, wide-spread, and long-established as to be
dominant in every class of minds. It is so associated with our religious
instincts, on the one hand, and our sex-instincts, on the other, both of
which we have long been forbidden to discuss,—the one being too holy and
the other too unholy,—that it is well-nigh impossible to think clearly
and dispassionately on the subject. It is easy to understand why we are
so triple-plated with prejudice in the case.

The instinct that draws the child to its mother is exactly as old as the
instinct that draws the mother to her child; and that dates back to the
period when the young first needed care,—among the later reptiles,
perhaps. This tie has lasted unbroken through the whole line of
progression, and is stronger with us than with any other creature,
because in our social evolution the parent is of advantage to the child
not only through its entire life, but even after death, by our laws of
inheritance. So early, so radically important, so long accumulated an
animal instinct, added to by social law, is a great force. Besides this,
we must reckon with our long period of ancestor worship. This finally
changed the hideous concepts of early idolaters into the idea of
parental divinity; for, having first made a god of their father, they
then made a father of God, and this deep religious feeling has added
much to the heavy weight of instinct. Parental government, too, absolute
in the patriarchal period, has added further to our devout, blind faith
in parenthood until it is _lèse-majesté_ to question its right
fulfilment. Two most interesting developments are to be noted along this
line. One is that the height of filial devotion was reached in the
patriarchal age; when the father was the sole governor and feeder of the
family, and could slay or sell his child at will; and that this relic of
ancestor worship has steadily declined with the extension of government,
until, in our democracy, with the fullest development of individual
liberty and responsibility, is found the lowest degree of filial
reverence and submission. Its place is taken, to our great gain, by such
familiar, loving intercourse between parent and child as was utterly
incompatible with the grovelling attitude of children in earlier times.

The other is the gradual swing from supreme devotion to the father, “the
author of my being,” as the child used to consider him, to our modern
mother-worship. The dying soldier on the battlefield thinks of his
mother, longs for her, not for his father. The traveller and exile
dreams of his mother’s care, his mother’s doughnuts. The pathos of the
popular tale to-day is in bringing the prodigal back to his mother, not
to his father. If the original prodigal had a mother, she was probably
busy in cooking the fatted calf. If to-day’s prodigal has a father, he
is merely engaged in paying for the veal. Our tenderest love, our
deepest reverence, our fiercest resentment of insult, all centre about
the mother to-day rather than about the father; and this is a strong
proof that the recognition of woman’s real power and place in life grow
upon us just as our minds grow able to perceive it. Nothing can ever
exceed the truth as to the value of the mother. Our instinct is a right
one, as all deep-seated social instincts are; but about it has grown up
a mass of falsehoods and absurdities such as always tend to confuse and
impede the progress of great truths.

As the main agent in reproduction, the mother is most to be venerated on
basic physiological grounds. As the main agent in developing love, the
great human condition, she is the fountain of all our growth. As the
beginner of industry, she is again a source of progress. As the first
and final educator, she outwardly moulds what she has inwardly made;
and, as she is the visible, tangible, lovable, living type of all this,
the being in whose person is expressed the very sum of good to the
individual, it is no wonder that our strongest, deepest, tenderest
feelings cluster about the great word “mother.”

Fully recognizing all this, it yet remains open to us to turn the light
of science and the honest labor of thought upon this phase of human life
as upon any other; to lay aside our feelings, and use our reason; to
discover if even here we are justified in leaving the most important
work of individual life to the methods of primitive instinct. Motherhood
is but a process of life, and open to study as all processes of life are
open. Among unconscious, early forms it fulfils its mission by a simple
instinct. In the consciousness and complexity of human life it demands
far more numerous and varied forces for its right fulfilment. It is with
us a conscious process,—a process rife with consequences for good or
evil. With this voluntary power come new responsibility and a need for
new methods,—a need not merely to consider whether or not we will enter
upon the duties of maternity, but how best we can fulfil them.

Motherhood, like every other natural process, is to be measured by its
results. It is good or evil as it serves its purpose. Human motherhood
must be judged as it serves its purpose to the human race. Primarily,
its purpose is to reproduce the race by reproducing the individual;
secondarily, to improve the race by improving the individual. The mere
office of reproduction is as well performed by the laying of eggs to be
posthumously hatched as by many years of exquisite devotion; but in the
improvement of the species we come to other requirements. The functions
of motherhood have been evolved as naturally as the functions of
nutrition, and each stage of development has brought new duties to the
mother. The mother bird must brood her young, the mother cow must suckle
them, the mother cat must hunt for them; and, in every varied service
which the mother gives, its value is to be measured by its effect upon
the young. To perform that which is most good for the young of the
species is the measure of right motherhood, and that which is most good
for the young is what will help them to a better maturity than that of
their parents. To leave in the world a creature better than its parent,
this is the purpose of right motherhood.

In the human race this purpose is served by two processes: first, by the
simple individual function of reproduction, of which all care and
nursing are but an extension; and, second, by the complex social
function of education. This was primarily a maternal process, and
therefore individual; but it has long since become a racial rather than
an individual function, and bears no relation to sex or other personal
limitation. The young of the human race require for their best
development not only the love and care of the mother, but the care and
instruction of many besides their mother. So largely is this true that
it may be said in extreme terms that it would be better for a child
to-day to be left absolutely without mother or family of any sort, in
the city of Boston, for instance, than to be supplied with a large and
affectionate family and be planted with them in Darkest Africa.

Human functions are race-functions, social functions; and education is
one of them. The duty of the human mother, and the measure of its right
or wrong fulfilment, are to be judged along these two main lines,
reproduction and education. As we have no species above us with which to
compare our motherhood, we must measure by those below us. We must show
improvement upon them in this function which we all hold in common.

Does the human mother succeed better than others of her order, mammalia,
in the reproduction of the species? Does she bring forth and rear her
young more perfectly than lower mothers? They, being less conscious, act
simply under instinct, mating in their season, bringing forth young in
their season, nursing, guarding, defending as best they may; and they
leave in the world behind them creatures as good, or better, than their
mothers. Of wild animals we have few reliable statistics, and of tame
ones it is difficult to detach their natural processes from our
interference therewith. But in both the simple maintenance of species
shows that motherhood at least reproduces fairly well; and in those we
breed for our advantage the wonderful possibilities of race-development
through this process are made apparent. How do we, with the human brain
and the human conscience, rich in the power and wisdom of our dominant
race,—how do we, as mothers, compare with our forerunners?

Human motherhood is more pathological than any other, more morbid,
defective, irregular, diseased. Human childhood is similarly
pathological. We, as animals, are very inferior animals in this
particular. When we take credit to ourselves for the sublime devotion
with which we face “the perils of maternity,” and boast of “going down
to the gates of death” for our children, we should rather take shame to
ourselves for bringing these perils upon both mother and child. The
gates of death? They are the gates of life to the unborn; and there is
no death there save what we, the mothers, by our unnatural lives, have
brought upon our own children. Gates of death, indeed, to the thousands
of babies late-born, prematurely born, misborn, and stillborn for lack
of right motherhood. In the primal physical functions of maternity the
human female cannot show that her supposed specialization to these uses
has improved her fulfilment of them, rather the opposite. The more
freely the human mother mingles in the natural industries of a human
creature, as in the case of the savage woman, the peasant woman, the
working-woman everywhere who is not overworked, the more rightly she
fulfils these functions.

The more absolutely woman is segregated to sex-functions only, cut off
from all economic use and made wholly dependent on the sex-relation as
means of livelihood, the more pathological does her motherhood become.
The over-development of sex caused by her economic dependence on the
male reacts unfavorably upon her essential duties. She is too female for
perfect motherhood! Her excessive specialization in the secondary sexual
characteristics is a detrimental element in heredity. Small, weak, soft,
ill-proportioned women do not tend to produce large, strong, sturdy,
well-made men or women. When Frederic the Great wanted grenadiers of
great size, he married big men to big women,—not to little ones. The
female segregated to the uses of sex alone naturally deteriorates in
racial development, and naturally transmits that deterioration to her
offspring. The human mother, in the processes of reproduction, shows no
gain in efficiency over the lower animals, but rather a loss, and so far
presents no evidence to prove that her specialization to sex is of any
advantage to her young. The mother of a dead baby or the baby of a dead
mother; the sick baby, the crooked baby, the idiot baby; the exhausted,
nervous, prematurely aged mother,—these are not uncommon among us; and
they do not show much progress in our motherhood.

Since we cannot justify the human method of maternity in the physical
processes of reproduction, can we prove its advantages in the other
branch, education? Though the mother be sickly and the child the same,
will not her loving care more than make up for it? Will not the tender
devotion of the mother, and her unflagging attendance upon the child,
render human motherhood sufficiently successful in comparison with that
of other species to justify our peculiar method? We must now show that
our motherhood, in its usually accepted sense, the “care” of the child
(more accurately described as education), is of a superior nature.

Here, again, we lack the benefit of comparison. No other animal species
is required to care for its young so long, to teach it so much. So far
as they have it to do, they do it well. The hen with her brood is an
accepted model of motherhood in this respect. She not only lays eggs and
hatches them, but educates and protects her young so far as it is
necessary. But beyond such simple uses as this we have no standard of
comparison for educative motherhood. We can only study it among
ourselves, comparing the child left motherless with the child mothered,
the child with a mother and nothing else with the child whose mother is
helped by servants and teachers, the child with what we recognize as a
superior mother to the child with an inferior mother. This last
distinction, a comparison between mothers, is of great value. We have
tacitly formulated a certain vague standard of human motherhood, and
loosely apply it, especially in the epithets “natural” and “unnatural”

But these terms again show how prone we still are to consider the whole
field of maternal action as one of instinct rather than of reason, as a
function rather than a service. We do have a standard, however, loose
and vague as it is; and even by that standard it is painful to see how
many human mothers fail. Ask yourselves honestly how many of the mothers
whose action toward their children confronts you in street and shop and
car and boat, in hotel and boarding-house and neighboring yard,—how many
call forth favorable comment compared with those you judge unfavorably?
Consider not the rosy ideal of motherhood you have in your mind, but the
coarse, hard facts of motherhood as you see them, and hear them, in
daily life.

Motherhood in its fulfilment of educational duty can be measured only by
its effects. If we take for a standard the noble men and women whose
fine physique and character we so fondly attribute to “a devoted
mother,” what are we to say of the motherhood which has filled the world
with the ignoble men and women, of depraved physique and character? If
the good mother makes the good man, how about the bad ones? When we see
great men and women, we give credit to their mothers. When we see
inferior men and women,—and that is a common circumstance,—no one
presumes to question the motherhood which has produced them. When it
comes to congenital criminality, we are beginning to murmur something
about “heredity”; and, to meet gross national ignorance, we do demand a
better system of education. But no one presumes to suggest that the
mothering of mankind could be improved upon; and yet there is where the
responsibility really lies. If our human method of reproduction is
defective, let the mother answer. She is the main factor in
reproduction. If our human method of education is defective, let the
mother answer. She is the main factor in education.

To this it is bitterly objected that such a claim omits the father and
his responsibility. When the mother of the world is in her right place
and doing her full duty, she will have no ground of complaint against
the father. In the first place, she will make better men. In the second,
she will hold herself socially responsible for the choice of a right
father for her children. In the third place, as an economic free agent,
she will do half duty in providing for the child. Men who are not equal
to good fatherhood under such conditions will have no chance to become
fathers, and will die with general pity instead of living with general
condemnation. In his position, doing all the world’s work, all the
father’s, and half the mother’s, man has made better shift to achieve
the impossible than woman has in hers. She has been supposed to have no
work or care on earth save as mother. She has really had the work of the
mother and that of the world’s house service besides. But she has surely
had as much time and strength to give to motherhood as man to
fatherhood; and not until she can show that the children of the world
are as well mothered as they are well fed can she cast on him the blame
for our general deficiency.

There is no personal blame to be laid on either party. The
sexuo-economic relation has its inevitable ill-effects on both
motherhood and fatherhood. But it is to the mother that the appeal must
be made to change this injurious relation. Having the deeper sense of
duty to the young, the larger love, she must come to feel how her false
position hurts her motherhood, and for her children’s sake break away
from it. Of man and his fatherhood she can make what she will.

The duty of the mother is first to produce children as good as or better
than herself; to hand down the constitution and character of those
behind her the better for her stewardship; to build up and improve the
human race through her enormous power as mother; to make better people.
This being done, it is then the duty of the mother, the human mother so
to educate her children as to complete what bearing and nursing have
only begun. She carries the child nine months in her body, two years in
her arms, and as long as she lives in her heart and mind. The education
of the young is a tremendous factor in human reproduction. A right
motherhood should be able to fulfil this great function perfectly. It
should understand with an ever-growing power the best methods of
developing, strengthening, and directing the child’s faculties of body
and mind, so that each generation, reaching maturity, would start clear
of the last, and show a finer, fuller growth, both physically and
mentally, than the preceding. That humanity does slowly improve is not
here denied; but, granting our gradual improvement, is it all that we
could make? And is the gain due to a commensurate improvement in

To both we must say no. When we see how some families improve, while
others deteriorate, and how uncertain and irregular is such improvement
as appears, we know that we could make better progress if all children
had the same rich endowment and wise care that some receive. And, when
we see how much of our improvement is due to gains made in hygienic
knowledge, in public provision for education and sanitary regulation,
none of which has been accomplished by mothers, we are forced to see
that whatever advance the race has made is not exclusively attributable
to motherhood. The human mother does less for her young, both absolutely
and proportionately, than any kind of mother on earth. She does not
obtain food for them, nor covering, nor shelter, nor protection, nor
defence. She does not educate them beyond the personal habits required
in the family circle and in her limited range of social life. The
necessary knowledge of the world, so indispensable to every human being,
she cannot give, because she does not possess it. All this provision and
education are given by other hands and brains than hers. Neither does
the amount of physical care and labor bestowed on the child by its
mother warrant her claims to superiority in motherhood: this is but a
part of our idealism of the subject.

The poor man’s wife has far too much of other work to do to spend all
her time in waiting on her children. The rich man’s wife could do it,
but does not, partly because she hires some one to do it for her, and
partly because she, too, has other duties to occupy her time. Only in
isolated cases do we find a mother deputing all other service to others,
and concentrating her energies on feeding, clothing, washing, dressing,
and, as far as may be, educating her own child. When such cases are
found, it remains to be shown that the child so reared is
proportionately benefited by this unremittent devotion of its mother. On
the contrary, the best service and education a child can receive involve
the accumulated knowledge and exchanged activities of thousands upon
thousands besides his mother,—the fathers of the race.

There does not appear, in the care and education of the child as given
by the mother, any special superiority in human maternity. Measuring
woman first in direct comparison of her reproductive processes with
those of other animals, she does not fulfil this function so easily or
so well as they. Measuring her educative processes by inter-personal
comparison, the few admittedly able mothers with the many painfully
unable ones, she seems more lacking, if possible, than in the other
branch. The gain in human education thus far has not been acquired or
distributed through the mother, but through men and single women; and
there is nothing in the achievements of human motherhood to prove that
it is for the advantage of the race to have women give all their time to
it. Giving all their time to it does not improve it either in quantity
or quality. The woman who works is usually a better reproducer than the
woman who does not. And the woman who does not work is not
proportionately a better educator.

An extra-terrestrial sociologist, studying human life and hearing for
the first time of our so-called “maternal sacrifice” as a means of
benefiting the species, might be touched and impressed by the idea. “How
beautiful!” he would say. “How exquisitely pathetic and tender! One-half
of humanity surrendering all other human interests and activities to
concentrate its time, strength, and devotion upon the functions of
maternity! To bear and rear the majestic race to which they can never
fully belong! To live vicariously forever, through their sons, the
daughters being only another vicarious link! What a supreme and
magnificent martyrdom!” And he would direct his researches toward
discovering what system was used to develope and perfect this sublime
consecration of half the race to the perpetuation of the other half. He
would view with intense and pathetic interest the endless procession of
girls, born human as their brothers were, but marked down at once as
“female—abortive type—only use to produce males.” He would expect to see
this “sex sacrificed to reproductive necessities,” yet gifted with human
consciousness and intelligence, rise grandly to the occasion, and strive
to fit itself in every way for its high office. He would expect to find
society commiserating the sacrifice, and honoring above all the glorious
creature whose life was to be sunk utterly in the lives of others, and
using every force properly to rear and fully to fit these functionaries
for their noble office. Alas for the extra-terrestrial sociologist and
his natural expectations! After exhaustive study, finding nothing of
these things, he would return to Mars or Saturn or wherever he came
from, marvelling within himself at the vastness of the human paradox.

If the position of woman is to be justified by the doctrine of maternal
sacrifice, surely society, or the individual, or both, would make some
preparation for it. No such preparation is made. Society recognizes no
such function. Premiums have been sometimes paid for large numbers of
children, but they were paid to the fathers of them. The elaborate
social machinery which constitutes our universal marriage market has no
department to assist or advance motherhood. On the contrary, it is
directly inimical to it, so that in our society life motherhood means
direct loss, and is avoided by the social devotee. And the individual?
Surely here right provision will be made. Young women, glorying in their
prospective duties, their sacred and inalienable office, their great
sex-martyrdom to race-advantage, will be found solemnly preparing for
this work. What do we find? We find our young women reared in an
attitude which is absolutely unconscious of and often injurious to their
coming motherhood,—an irresponsible, indifferent, ignorant class of
beings, so far as motherhood is concerned. They are fitted to attract
the other sex for economic uses or, at most, for mutual gratification,
but not for motherhood. They are reared in unbroken ignorance of their
supposed principal duties, knowing nothing of these duties till they
enter upon them.

This is as though all men were to be soldiers with the fate of nations
in their hands; and no man told or taught a word of war or military
service until he entered the battlefield!

The education of young women has no department of maternity. It is
considered indelicate to give this consecrated functionary any previous
knowledge of her sacred duties. This most important and wonderful of
human functions is left from age to age in the hands of absolutely
untaught women. It is tacitly supposed to be fulfilled by the mysterious
working of what we call “the divine instinct of maternity.” Maternal
instinct is a very respectable and useful instinct common to most
animals. It is “divine” and “holy” only as all the laws of nature are
divine and holy; and it is such only when it works to the right
fulfilment of its use. If the race-preservative processes are to be held
more sacred than the self-preservative processes, we must admit all the
functions and faculties of reproduction to the same degree of
reverence,—the passion of the male for the female as well as the passion
of the mother for her young. And if, still further, we are to honor the
race-preservative processes most in their highest and latest
development, which is the only comparison to be made on a natural basis,
we should place the great, disinterested, social function of education
far above the second-selfishness of individual maternal functions.
Maternal instinct, merely as an instinct, is unworthy of our
superstitious reverence. It should be measured only as a means to an
end, and valued in proportion to its efficacy.

Among animals, which have but a low degree of intelligence, instinct is
at its height, and works well. Among savages, still incapable of much
intellectual development, instinct holds large place. The mother beast
can and does take all the care of her young by instinct; the mother
savage, nearly all, supplemented by the tribal traditions, the educative
influences of association, and some direct instruction. As humanity
advances, growing more complex and varied, and as human intelligence
advances to keep pace with new functions and new needs, instinct
decreases in value. The human creature prospers and progresses not by
virtue of his animal instinct, but by the wisdom and force of a
cultivated intelligence and will, with which to guide his action and to
control and modify the very instincts which used to govern him.

The human female, denied the enlarged activities which have developed
intelligence in man, denied the education of the will which only comes
by freedom and power, has maintained the rudimentary forces of instinct
to the present day. With her extreme modification to sex, this faculty
of instinct runs mainly along sex-lines, and finds fullest vent in the
processes of maternity, where it has held unbroken sway. So the children
of humanity are born into the arms of an endless succession of untrained
mothers, who bring to the care and teaching of their children neither
education for that wonderful work nor experience therein: they bring
merely the intense accumulated force of a brute instinct,—the blind
devoted passion of the mother for the child. Maternal love is an
enormous force, but force needs direction. Simply to love the child does
not serve him unless specific acts of service express this love. What
these acts of service are and how they are performed make or mar his
life forever.

Observe the futility of unaided maternal love and instinct in the simple
act of feeding the child. Belonging to order mammalia, the human mother
has an instinctive desire to suckle her young. (Some ultra-civilized
have lost even that.) But this instinct has not taught her such habits
of life as insure her ability to fulfil this natural function. Failing
in the natural method, of what further use is instinct in the
nourishment of the child? Can maternal instinct discriminate between
Marrow’s Food and Bridge’s Food, Hayrick’s Food and Pestle’s Food,
Pennywhistle’s Sterilized Milk, and all the other infants’ foods which
are prepared and put upon the market by—men! These are not prepared by
instinct, maternal or paternal, but by chemical analysis and
physiological study; and their effect is observed and the diet varied by
physicians, who do not do their work by instinct, either.

If the bottle-baby survive the loss of mother’s milk, when he comes to
the table, does maternal instinct suffice then to administer a proper
diet for young children? Let the doctor and the undertaker answer. The
wide and varied field of masculine activity in the interests of little
children, from the peculiar human phenomenon of masculine assistance in
parturition (there is one animal, the obstetric frog, where it also
appears) to the manufacture of articles for feeding, clothing,
protecting, amusing, and educating the baby, goes to show the utter
inadequacy of maternal instinct in the human female. Another thing it
shows also,—the criminal failure of that human female to supply by
intelligent effort what instinct can no longer accomplish. For a
reasoning, conscious being deliberately to undertake the responsibility
of maintaining human life without making due preparation for the task is
more than carelessness.

Before a man enters a trade, art, or profession, he studies it. He
qualifies himself for the duties he is to undertake. He would be held a
presuming impostor if he engaged in work he was not fitted to do, and
his failure would mark him instantly with ridicule and reproach. In the
more important professions, especially in those dealing with what we
call “matters of life and death,” the shipmaster or pilot, doctor or
druggist, is required not only to study his business, but to pass an
examination under those who have already become past masters, and obtain
a certificate or a diploma or some credential to show that he is fit to
be intrusted with the direct responsibility for human life.

Women enter a position which gives into their hands direct
responsibility for the life or death of the whole human race with
neither study nor experience, with no shadow of preparation or guarantee
of capability. So far as they give it a thought, they fondly imagine
that this mysterious “maternal instinct” will see them through.
Instruction, if needed, they will pick up when the time comes:
experience they will acquire as the children appear. “I guess I know how
to bring up children!” cried the resentful old lady who was being
advised: “I’ve buried seven!” The record of untrained instinct as a
maternal faculty in the human race is to be read on the rows and rows of
little gravestones which crowd our cemeteries. The experience gained by
practising on the child is frequently buried with it.

No, the maternal sacrifice theory will not bear examination. As a sex
specialized to reproduction, giving up all personal activity, all honest
independence, all useful and progressive economic service for her
glorious consecration to the uses of maternity, the human female has
little to show in the way of results which can justify her position.
Neither the enormous percentage of children lost by death nor the low
average health of those who survive, neither physical nor mental
progress, give any proof of race advantage from the maternal sacrifice.


Although the superior maternity of the human female is so difficult to
prove, so open to heavy charges of inadequacy, so erratic and
pathological, there remain intact our devout belief in it, our
reverence, our unshaken conviction that it is the one perfect thing. The
facts as to our carelessness and ignorance in the fulfilment of this
function are undeniable: the rate of infant mortality and children’s
diseases,—those classed by physicians as “preventable diseases,”
namely,—these mortal errors and failures confront us everywhere; but we
ignore them all, or attribute them to any and every reason save
deficient motherhood.

One of the most frequent excuses, among those who have gone far enough
to admit that excuse is needed, is that the father is to blame for these
conditions. His vices, it is alleged, weaken the constitution of the
race. His failure to provide prevents the mother from giving the proper
care. He is held responsible for what evil we see in our children; and
still we worship the mother for the physical process of bearing a
child,—now considered an act of heroism,—and for the “devotion” with
which she clings to it afterward, irrespective of the wisdom or
effectiveness of this devotion. A healthy and independent motherhood
would no more think of taking credit to itself for the right fulfilment
of its natural functions than would a cat for bringing forth her kittens
or a sheep her lambs. The common fact that the women of the lower social
grades bear more children and bear them more easily than the women of
higher classes ought to give pause to this ridiculous assumption, but it
does not. The more women weaken themselves and their offspring, and
imperil their very lives by anti-maternal habits, the more difficulty,
danger, and expense are associated with this natural process, the more
do women solemnly take credit to themselves and receive it from others
for the glorious self-sacrifice with which they risk their lives (and
their babies’ lives!) for the preservation of humanity. As to the father
and his share in the evil results, nothing that he has ever done or can
do removes from motherhood its primal responsibility.

Suppose the female of some other species, ignoring her racial duty of
right selection, should mate with mangy, toothless cripples,—if there
were such among her kind,—and so produce weak, malformed young, and help
exterminate her race. Should she then blame him for the result? An
entire sex, sacredly set apart for maternal functions so superior as to
justify their lack of economic usefulness, should in the course of ages
have learned how to select proper fathers. If the only way in which the
human mother can feed and guard her children is through another person,
a provider and protector on whom their lives and safety must depend,
what natural, social, or moral excuse has she for not choosing a good

But how can a young girl know a good prospective father, we ask. That
she is not so educated as to know proves her unfitness for her great
task. That she does not think or care proves her dishonorable
indifference to her great duty. She can in no way shirk the
responsibility for criminal carelessness in choosing a father for her
children, unless indeed there were no choice,—no good men left on earth.
Moreover, we are not obliged to leave this crucial choice in the hands
of young girls. Motherhood is the work of grown women, not of
half-children; and, when we honestly care as much for motherhood as we
pretend, we shall train the woman for her duty, not the girl for her
guileless manœuvres to secure a husband. We talk about the noble duties
of the mother, but our maidens are educated for economically successful

Leaving this field of maternal duty through sex-selection, there remains
the far larger ground to which the popular mind flees in triumph: that
the later work of the mother proves the success of our racial division
of labor on sex-lines, that in the care of the child, the education of
the child, the beautiful life of the home and family, it is shown how
well our system works. This is the last stronghold. Solidly intrenched
herein sits popular thought, safe in the sacred precincts of the home.
“Every man’s home is his castle,” is the common saying. The windows are
shut to keep out the air. The curtains are down to keep out the light.
The doors are barred to keep out the stranger. Within are the hearth
fire and its gentle priestess, the initial combination of human
life,—the family in the home.

Our thrones have been emptied, and turned into mere chairs for passing
presidents. Our churches have been opened to the light of modern life,
and the odor of sanctity has been freshened with sweet sunny air. We can
see room for change in these old sanctuaries, but none in the sanctuary
of the home. And this temple, with its rights, is so closely interwound
with the services of subject woman, its altar so demands her ceaseless
sacrifices, that we find it impossible to conceive of any other basis of
human living. We are chilled to the heart’s core by the fear of losing
any of these ancient and hallowed associations. Without this blessed
background of all our memories and foreground of all our hopes, life
seems empty indeed. In homes we were all born. In homes we all die or
hope to die. In homes we all live or want to live. For homes we all
labor, in them or out of them. The home is the centre and circumference,
the start and the finish, of most of our lives. We love it with a love
older than the human race. We reverence it with the blind obeisance of
those crouching centuries when its cult began. We cling to it with the
tenacity of every inmost, oldest instinct of our animal natures, and
with the enthusiasm of every latest word in the unbroken chant of
adoration which we have sung to it since first we learned to praise.

And since we hold that our home life, just as we have it, is the best
thing on earth, and that our home life plainly demands one whole woman
at the least to each home, and usually more, it follows that anything
which offers to change the position of woman threatens to “undermine the
home,” “strikes at the root of the family,” and we will none of it. If,
in honest endeavor to keep up to the modern standard of free thought and
free speech, we do listen,—turning from our idol for a moment, and
saying to the daring iconoclast, “Come, show us anything better!”—with
what unlimited derision do we greet his proposed substitute! Yet
everywhere about us to-day this inner tower, this castle keep of
vanishing tradition, is becoming more difficult to defend or even to
keep in repair. We buttress it anew with every generation; we love its
very cracks and crumbling corners; we hang and drape it with endless
decorations; we hide the looming dangers overhead with fresh clouds of
incense; and we demand of the would-be repairers and rebuilders that
they prove to us the desirability of their wild plans before they lift a
hammer. But, when they show their plans, we laugh them to scorn.

It is a difficult case to meet. To call attention to existing conditions
and to establish the relation between them and existing phenomena is one
thing. To point out how a change of condition will produce new
phenomena, and how these phenomena will benefit us, is quite another.
Yet this is the task that is always involved in the conscious progress
of the human race. While that progress was unconscious, it was enough
that certain individuals and classes gradually entered into new
relations in process of social evolution, and that they forced their
conditions upon the reluctant conservatives who failed so to evolve.

In the quite recent passage from the feudal to the monarchical system,
no time was wasted in the endeavor to persuade and convince the
headstrong barons of their national duty. The growing power of the king
struggled with and survived the lessening power of the barons,—that was
all. Had a book been written then to urge the change, it could have
proved clearly enough the evils of the feudal system; but, when it tried
to portray the glories of national peace and power under a single
monarch, it would have had small weight. National peace and power, which
had been hitherto non-existent, would have failed to appeal to the
sturdy lords of the soil, whose only idea of peace and power was to sit
down and rest on their prostrate neighbors. Had their strength run in
the line of argument, they would have scouted the “should be’s” and
“will be’s” of the author, and defied him to prove that the new
condition would be developed by the new processes; and, indeed, he would
have found it hard.

So to-day, in questioning the economic status of woman and her position
in the home and in the family, it is far easier to prove present evil
than future good. Yet this is what is most exactingly demanded. It is
required of the advocate of social reform not only that he convince the
contented followers of the present system of its wrong, but that he
prove to their satisfaction the superiority of some other system. This,
in the nature of the case, is impossible. When people are contented, you
cannot make them feel that what is is wrong, or that something else
might be better. Even the discontented are far more willing to refer
their troubles to some personal factor than to admit that their
condition as a whole inevitably produces the general trouble in which
they share. Even if convinced that a change of condition will remove the
source of injury, they, like the fox with the swarm of flies, fear to be
disturbed, lest their last state be worse than their first. In the face
of this inevitable difficulty, however, the task must be undertaken.

Two things let us premise and agree upon before starting. First, that
the duty of human life is progress, development; that we are here, not
merely to live, but to grow,—not to be content with lean savagery or fat
barbarism or sordid semi-civilization, but to toil on through the
centuries, and build up the ever-nobler forms of life toward which
social evolution tends. If this is not believed, if any hold that to
keep alive and reproduce the species is the limit of our human duty,
then they need look no farther here. That aim can be attained, and has
been attained, for irrefutable centuries, through many forms of
sex-relation and of economic relation. Human beings have lived and
brought up children as good as their parents in free promiscuity and
laziness, in forced polygamy and slavery, in willing polyandry and
industry, and in monogamy _plus_ prostitution and manufactures. Just to
live and bear children does not prove the relative superiority of any
system, either in sex or economics. But, when we believe that life means
progress, then each succeeding form of sex-relation or economic relation
is to be measured by its effect on that progress.

It may be necessary here to agree on a definition of human progress.
According to the general law of organic evolution, it may be defined as
follows: such progress in the individual and in his social relations as
shall maintain him in health and happiness and increase the organic
development of society.

If we accept such a definition of human progress, if we agree that
progress is the duty of society, and that all social institutions are to
be measured by it, we may proceed to our second premise. This is not to
be ranked with the first in importance: it should be too commonly
understood and accepted to be dragged into such a prominent position.
But it is not commonly understood and accepted. In fact, it is
misunderstood and denied to so general a degree that no apology is
needed for insisting on it here.

The second premise is this: our enjoyment of a thing does not prove that
it is right. Even our love, admiration, and reverence for a thing does
not prove that it is right; and, even from an evolutionary point of
view, our belief that a thing is “natural” does not prove that it is
right. A thing may be right in one stage of evolution which becomes
wrong in another. For instance, promiscuity is “natural”; the human
animal, like many others, is quite easily inclined thereto. Monogamy is
proven right by social evolution: it is the best way to carry on the
human race in social relation; but it is not yet as “natural” as could
be desired.

So, to return to our second premise, which is admittedly rather a large
one, to show that any custom or status of ours is “natural” and
enjoyable does not prove that it is right. It does not of course prevent
its being right. Right things may be enjoyed, may be loved, admired, and
reverenced, may even be “natural”; but so may wrong things. Even that
subhuman faculty called instinct is only a true guide to conduct when
the conditions are present which originally developed that instinct. The
instinct that makes a modern house-dog turn around three times before he
lies down is not worthy of much admiration to-day, though it served its
purpose on the grassy plains and in the leafy hollows where it was
formed. If these two premises are granted, that the duty of human life
is progress, and that a given condition is not necessarily right because
we like it, we may go on.

Is our present method of home life, based on the economic dependence of
woman in the sex-relation, the best calculated to maintain the
individual in health and happiness, and develope in him the higher
social faculties? The individual is not maintained in health and
happiness,—that is visible to all; and how little he is developed in
social relation is shown in the jarring irregularity and wastefulness of
our present economic system.

Economic independence for women necessarily involves a change in the
home and family relation. But, if that change is for the advantage of
individual and race, we need not fear it. It does not involve a change
in the marriage relation except in withdrawing the element of economic
dependence, nor in the relation of mother to child save to improve it.
But it does involve the exercise of human faculty in women, in social
service and exchange rather than in domestic service solely. This will
of course require the introduction of some other form of living than
that which now obtains. It will render impossible the present method of
feeding the world by means of millions of private servants, and bringing
up children by the same hand.

It is a melancholy fact that the vast majority of our children are
reared and trained by domestic servants,—generally their mothers, to be
sure, but domestic servants by trade. To become a producer, a factor in
the economic activities of the world, must perforce interfere with
woman’s present status as a private servant. House mistress she may
still be, in the sense of owning and ordering her home, but housekeeper
or house-servant she may not be—and be anything else. Her position as
mother will alter, too. Mother in the sense of bearer and rearer of
noble children she will be, as the closest and dearest, the one most
honored and best loved; but mother in the sense of exclusive individual
nursery-maid and nursery-governess she may not be—and be anything else.

It is precisely here that the world calls a halt. Nothing, it says, can
be better than our homes with their fair priestesses. Nothing can be
better for children than the hourly care of their own mothers. It is the
position of the feudal baron over again. We can perhaps be made to see
the evils of existing conditions: we cannot be made to see any
possibility of improving on them. Nevertheless, it may be tried.

Let us deliberately set ourselves to imagine, by sheer muscular effort
as it were, a better kind of motherhood than that of the private nursery
governess, a better way to feed and clean and clothe the world than by
the private house servant.

Here is felt the need of our second premise; for we enjoy things as they
are (that is, some of us do, sometimes, and the rest of us think that we
do). We love, admire, and reverence them; and it is “natural” to have
them so. If it can be shown that human progress is better served by
other methods, then other methods will be proven right; and we must grow
to enjoy and honor them as fast as we can, and in due course of time we
shall find them natural. If it can be shown that our babies would be
better off if part of their time was passed in other care than their
mothers’, then such other care would be right; and it would be the duty
of motherhood to provide it. If it can be shown that we could all be
better provided for in our personal needs of nutrition, cleanliness,
warmth, shelter, privacy, by some other method than that which requires
the labor of one woman or more to each family, then it would be the duty
of womanhood to find such method and to practise it.

Perhaps it is worth while to examine the nature of our feeling toward
that social institution called “the family,” and the probable effect
upon it of the change in woman’s economic status.

Marriage and “the family” are two institutions, not one, as is commonly
supposed. We confuse the natural result of marriage in children, common
to all forms of sex-union, with the family,—a purely social phenomenon.
Marriage is a form of sex-union recognized and sanctioned by society. It
is a relation between two or more persons, according to the custom of
the country, and involves mutual obligations. Although made by us an
economic relation, it is not essentially so, and will exist in much
higher fulfilment after the economic phase is outgrown.

The family is a social group, an entity, a little state. It holds an
important place in the evolution of society quite aside from its
connection with marriage. There was a time when the family was the
highest form of social relation,—indeed, the only form of social
relation,—when to the minds of pastoral, patriarchal tribes there was no
conception so large as “my country,” no State, no nation. There was only
a great land spotted with families, each family its own little world, of
which Grandpa was priest and king. The family was a social unit. Its
interests were common to its members, and inimical to those of other
families. It moved over the earth, following its food supply, and
fighting occasionally with stranger families for the grass or water on
which it depended. Indissoluble common interests are what make organic
union, and those interests long rested on blood relationship.

While the human individual was best fed and guarded by the family, and
so required the prompt, correlative action of all the members of that
family, naturally the family must have a head; and that form of
government known as the patriarchal was produced. The natural family
relation, as seen in parents and young of other species, or in ourselves
in later forms, involves no such governmental development: that is a
feature of the family as a social entity alone.

One of the essentials of the patriarchal family life was polygamy, and
not only polygamy, but open concubinage, and a woman slavery which was
almost the same thing. The highest period of the family as a social
institution was a very low period for marriage as a social
institution,—a period, in fact, when marriage was but partially evolved
from the early promiscuity of the primitive savage. The family seems
indeed to be a gradually disappearing survival of the still looser unit
of the horde, which again is more closely allied to the band or pack of
gregarious carnivora than to an organic social relation. A loose,
promiscuous group of animals is not a tribe; and the most primitive
savage groups seem to have been no more than this.

The tribe in its true form follows the family,—is a natural extension of
it, and derives its essential ties from the same relationship. These
social forms, too, are closely related to economic conditions. The horde
was the hunting unit; the family, and later the tribe, the pastoral
unit. Agriculture and its resultant, commerce and manufacture, gradually
weaken these crude blood ties, and establish the social relationship
which constitutes the State. Before the pastoral era the family held no
important position, and since that era it has gradually declined. With
social progress we find human relations resting less and less on a
personal and sex basis, and more and more on general economic
independence. As individuals have become more highly specialized, they
have made possible a higher form of marriage.

The family is a decreasing survival of the earliest grouping known to
man. Marriage is an increasing development of high social life, not
fully evolved. So far from being identical with the family, it improves
and strengthens in inverse ratio to the family, as is easily seen by the
broad contrast between the marriage relations of Jacob and the
unquenchable demand for lifelong single mating that grows in our hearts
to-day. There was no conception of marriage as a personal union for life
of two well-matched individuals during the patriarchal era. Wives were
valued merely for child-bearing. The family needed numbers of its own
blood, especially males; and the man-child was the price of favor to
women then. It was but a few degrees beyond the horde, not yet become a
tribe in the full sense. Its bonds of union were of the loosest,—merely
common paternity, with a miscellaneous maternity of inimical interests.
Such a basis forever forbade any high individualization, and high
individualization with its demands for a higher marriage forbids any
numerical importance to the family. Marriage has risen and developed in
social importance as the family has sunk and decreased.

It is most interesting to note that, under the comparatively similar
conditions of the settlement of Utah, the numerical strength and easily
handled common interests of many people under one head, which
distinguish the polygamous family, were found useful factors in that
great pioneering enterprise. In the further development of society a
relation of individuals more fluent, subtle, and extensive was needed.
The family as a social unit makes a ponderous body of somewhat
irreconcilable constituents, requiring a sort of military rule to make
it work at all; and it is only useful while the ends to be attained are
of a simple nature, and allow of the slowest accomplishment. It is easy
to see the family extending to the tribe by its own physical increase;
and, similarly, the father hardening into the chief, under the
necessities of larger growth. Then, as the steadily enlarging forces of
national unity make the chief an outgrown name and the tribe an outgrown
form, the family dwindles to a monogamic basis, as the higher needs of
the sex-relation become differentiated from the more primitive economic
necessities of the family.

And now, further, when our still developing social needs call for an
ever-increasing delicacy and freedom in the interservice and common
service of individuals, we find that even what economic unity remains to
the family is being rapidly eliminated. As the economic relation becomes
rudimentary and disappears, the sex-relation asserts itself more purely;
and the demand in the world to-day for a higher and nobler sex-union is
as sharply defined as the growing objection to the existing economic
union. Strange as it may seem to us, so long accustomed to confound the
two it is precisely the outgrown relics of a previously valuable family
relation which so painfully retard the higher development of the
monogamic marriage relation.

Each generation of young men and women comes to the formation of
sex-union with higher and higher demands for a true marriage, with
ever-growing needs for companionship. Each generation of men and women
need and ask more of each other. A woman is no longer content and
grateful to have “a kind husband”: a man is no longer content with a
patient Griselda; and, as all men and women, in marrying, revert to the
economic status of the earlier family, they come under conditions which
steadily tend to lower the standard of their mutual love, and make of
the average marriage only a sort of compromise, borne with varying ease
or difficulty according to the good breeding and loving-kindness of the
parties concerned. This is not necessarily, to their conscious
knowledge, an “unhappy marriage.” It is as happy as those they see about
them, as happy perhaps as we resignedly expect “on earth”; and in heaven
we do not expect marriages. But it is not what they looked forward to
when they were young.

When two young people love each other, in the long hours which are never
long enough for them to be together in, do they dwell in ecstatic
forecast on the duties of housekeeping? They do not. They dwell on the
pleasure of having a home, in which they can be “at last alone”; on the
opportunity of enjoying each other’s society; and, always, on what they
will _do_ together. To act with those we love,—to walk together, work
together, read together, paint, write, sing, anything you please, so
that it be together,—that is what love looks forward to.

Human love, as it rises to an ever higher grade, looks more and more for
such companionship. But the economic status of marriage rudely breaks in
upon love’s young dream. On the economic side, apart from all the
sweetness and truth of the sex-relation, the woman in marrying becomes
the house-servant, or at least the housekeeper, of the man. Of the world
we may say that the intimate personal necessities of the human animal
are ministered to by woman. Married lovers do not work together. They
may, if they have time, rest together: they may, if they can, play
together; but they do not make beds and sweep and cook together, and
they do not go down town to the office together. They are economically
on entirely different social planes, and these constitute a bar to any
higher, truer union than such as we see about us. Marriage is not
perfect unless it is between class equals. There is no equality in class
between those who do their share in the world’s work in the largest,
newest, highest ways and those who do theirs in the smallest, oldest,
lowest ways.

Granting squarely that it is the business of women to make the home life
of the world true, healthful, and beautiful, the economically dependent
woman does not do this, and never can. The economically independent
woman can and will. As the family is by no means identical with
marriage, so is the home by no means identical with either.

A home is a permanent dwelling-place, whether for one, two, forty, or a
thousand, for a pair, a flock, or a swarm. The hive is the home of the
bees as literally and absolutely as the nest is the home of mating birds
in their season. Home and the love of it may dwindle to the one chamber
of the bachelor or spread to the span of a continent, when the returning
traveller sees land and calls it “home.” There is no sweeter word, there
is no dearer fact, no feeling closer to the human heart than this.

On close analysis, what are the bases of our feelings in this
connection? and what are their supporting facts? Far down below
humanity, where “the foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have
nests,” there begins the deep home feeling. Maternal instinct seeks a
place to shelter the defenceless young, while the mother goes abroad to
search for food. The first sharp impressions of infancy are associated
with the sheltering walls of home, be it the swinging cradle in the
branches, the soft dark hollow in the trunk of a tree, or the cave with
its hidden lair. A place to be safe in; a place to be warm and dry in; a
place to eat in peace and sleep in quiet; a place whose close, familiar
limits rest the nerves from the continuous hail of impressions in the
changing world outside: the same place over and over,—the restful
repetition, rousing no keen response, but healing and soothing each
weary sense,—that “feels like home.” All this from our first
consciousness. All this for millions and millions of years. No wonder we
love it.

Then comes the gradual addition of tenderer associations, family ties of
the earliest. Then, still primitive, but not yet outgrown, the groping
religious sentiment of early ancestor-worship, adding sanctity to
safety, and driving deep our sentiment for home. It was the place in
which to pray, to keep alight the sacred fire, and pour libations to
departed grandfathers. Following this, the slow-dying era of paternal
government gave a new sense of honor to the place of comfort and the
place of prayer. It became the seat of government also,—the palace and
the throne. Upon this deep foundation we have built a towering
superstructure of habit, custom, law; and in it dwell together every
deepest, oldest, closest, and tenderest emotion of the human individual.
No wonder we are blind and deaf to any suggested improvement in our
lordly pleasure-house.

But look farther. Without contradicting any word of the above, it is
equally true that the highest emotions of humanity arise and live
outside the home and apart from it. While religion stayed at home, in
dogma and ceremony, in spirit and expression, it was a low and narrow
religion. It could never rise till it found a new spirit and a new
expression in human life outside the home, until it found a common place
of worship, a ceremonial and a morality on a human basis, not a family
basis. Science, art, government, education, industry,—the home is the
cradle of them all, and their grave, if they stay in it. Only as we live
think, feel, and work outside the home, do we become humanly developed,
civilized, socialized.

The exquisite development of modern home life is made possible only as
an accompaniment and result of modern social life. If the reverse were
true, as is popularly supposed, all nations that have homes would
continue to evolve a noble civilization. But they do not. On the
contrary, those nations in which home and family worship most prevail,
as in China, present a melancholy proof of the result of the domestic
virtues without the social. A noble home life is the product of a noble
social life. The home does not produce the virtues needed in society.
But society does produce the virtues needed in such homes as we desire
to-day. The members of the freest, most highly civilized and
individualized nations, make the most delightful members of the home and
family. The members of the closest and most highly venerated homes do
not necessarily make the most delightful members of society.

In social evolution as in all evolution the tendency is from
“indefinite, incoherent homogeneity to definite, coherent
heterogeneity”; and the home, in its rigid maintenance of a permanent
homogeneity, constitutes a definite limit to social progress. What we
need is not less home, but more; not a lessening of the love of human
beings for a home, but its extension through new and more effective
expression. And, above all, we need the complete disentanglement in our
thoughts of the varied and often radically opposed interests and
industries so long supposed to be component parts of the home and

The change in the economic position of woman from dependence to
independence must bring with it a rearrangement of these home interests
and industries, to our great gain.


As a natural consequence of our division of labor on sex-lines, giving
to woman the home and to man the world in which to work, we have come to
have a dense prejudice in favor of the essential womanliness of the home
duties, as opposed to the essential manliness of every other kind of
work. We have assumed that the preparation and serving of food and the
removal of dirt, the nutritive and excretive processes of the family,
are feminine functions; and we have also assumed that these processes
must go on in what we call the home, which is the external expression of
the family. In the home the human individual is fed, cleaned, warmed,
and generally cared for, while not engaged in working in the world.

Human nutrition is a long process. There’s many a ship ’twixt the cup
and the lip, to paraphrase an old proverb. Food is produced by the human
race collectively,—not by individuals for their own consumption, but by
interrelated groups of individuals, all over the world, for the world’s
consumption. This collectively produced food circulates over the earth’s
surface through elaborate processes of transportation, exchange, and
preparation, before it reaches the mouths of the consumers; and the
final processes of selection and preparation are in the hands of woman.
She is the final purchaser: she is the final handler in that process of
human nutrition known as cooking, which is a sort of extra-organic
digestion proven advantageous to our species. This department of human
digestion has become a sex-function, supposed to pertain to women by

If it is to the advantage of the human race that its food supply should
be thus handled by a special sex, this advantage should be shown in
superior health and purity of habit. But no such advantage is visible.
In spite of all our power and skill in the production and preparation of
food we remain “the sickest beast alive” in the matter of eating. Our
impotent outcries against adulteration prove that part of the trouble is
in the food products as offered for purchase, the pathetic reiteration
of our numerous cook-books proves that part of the trouble is in the
preparation of those products, and the futile exhortations of physicians
and mothers prove that part of the trouble is in our morbid tastes and
appetites. It would really seem as if the human race after all its long
centuries had not learned how to prepare good food, nor how to cook it,
nor how to eat it,—which is painfully true.

This great function of human nutrition is confounded with the
sex-relation, and is considered a sex-function: it is in the helpless
hands of that amiable but abortive agent, the economically dependent
women; and the essential incapacity of such an agent is not hard to
show. In her position as private house-steward she is the last purchaser
of the food of the world, and here we reach the governing factor in our
incredible adulteration of food products.

All kinds of deceit and imposition in human service are due to that
desire to get without giving, which, as has been shown in previous
chapters, is largely due to the training of women as non-productive
consumers. But the particular form of deceit and imposition practised by
a given dealer is governed by the intelligence and power of the buyer.
The dilution and adulteration of food products is a particularly easy
path to profit, because the ultimate purchaser has almost no power and
very little intelligence. The individual housewife must buy at short
intervals and in small quantities. This operates to her pecuniary
disadvantage, as is well known; but its effect on the quality of her
purchases is not so commonly observed. Not unless she becomes the head
of a wealthy household, and so purchases in quantity for family,
servants, and guests, is her trade of sufficient value to have force in
the market. The dealer who sells to a hundred poor women can and does
sell a much lower quality of food than he who sells an equal amount to
one purchaser. Therefore, the home, as a food agency, holds an
essentially and permanently unfavorable position as a purchaser; and it
is thereby the principal factor in maintaining the low standard of food
products against which we struggle with the cumbrous machinery of

Most housekeepers will innocently prove their ignorance of these matters
by denying that the standard of food products is so low. Let such
offended ladies but examine the statutes and ordinances of their own
cities,—of any civilized city,—and see how the bread, the milk, the
meat, the fruit, are under a steady legislative inspection which
endeavors to protect the ignorance and helplessness of the individual
purchaser. If the private housekeeper had the technical intelligence as
purchaser which is needed to discriminate in the selection of foods, if
she were prepared to test her milk, to detect the foreign substance in
her coffee and spices, rightly to estimate the quality of her meat and
the age of her fruit and vegetables, she would then be able at least to
protest against her supply, and to seek, as far as time, distance, and
funds allowed, a better market. This technical intelligence, however, is
only to be obtained by special study and experience; and its attainment
only involves added misery and difficulty to the private purchaser,
unless accompanied by the power to enforce what the intelligence

As it is, woman brings to her selection from the world’s food only the
empirical experience gained by practising upon her helpless family, and
this during the very time when her growing children need the wise care
which she is only able to give them in later years. This experience,
with its pitiful limitation and its practical check by the personal
taste and pecuniary standing of the family, is lost where it was found.
Each mother slowly acquires some knowledge of her business by practising
it upon the lives and health of her family and by observing its effect
on the survivors; and each daughter begins again as ignorant as her
mother was before her. This “rule of thumb” is not transmissible. It is
not a genuine education such as all important work demands, but a slow
animal process of soaking up experience,—hopelessly ineffectual in
protecting the health of society. As the ultimate selecting agent in
feeding humanity, the private housewife fails, and this not by reason of
any lack of effort on her part, but by the essential defect of her
position as individual purchaser. Only organization can oppose such
evils as the wholesale adulteration of food; and woman, the
house-servant, belongs to the lowest grade of unorganized labor.

Leaving the selection of food, and examining its preparation, one would
naturally suppose that the segregation of an entire sex to the
fulfilment of this function would insure most remarkable results. It
has, but they are not so favorable as might be expected. The art and
science of cooking involve a large and thorough knowledge of nutritive
value and of the laws of physiology and hygiene. As a science, it verges
on preventive medicine. As an art, it is capable of noble expression
within its natural bounds. As it stands among us to-day, it is so far
from being a science and akin to preventive medicine, that it is the
lowest of amateur handicrafts and a prolific source of disease; and, as
an art, it has developed under the peculiar stimulus of its position as
a sex-function into a voluptuous profusion as false as it is evil. Our
innocent proverb, “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach,” is
a painfully plain comment on the way in which we have come to deprave
our bodies and degrade our souls at the table.

On the side of knowledge it is permanently impossible that half the
world, acting as amateur cooks for the other half, can attain any high
degree of scientific accuracy or technical skill. The development of any
human labor requires specialization, and specialization is forbidden to
our cook-by-nature system. What progress we have made in the science of
cooking has been made through the study and experience of professional
men cooks and chemists, not through the Sisyphean labors of our endless
generations of isolated women, each beginning again where her mother
began before her.

Here, of course, will arise a pained outcry along the “mother’s
doughnuts” line, in answer to which we refer to our second premise in
the last chapter. The fact that we like a thing does not prove it to be
right. A Missouri child may regard his mother’s saleratus biscuit with
fond desire, but that does not alter their effect upon his spirits or
his complexion. Cooking is a matter of law, not the harmless play of
fancy. Architecture might be more sportive and varied if every man built
his own house, but it would not be the art and science that we have made
it; and, while every woman prepares food for her own family, cooking can
never rise beyond the level of the amateur’s work.

But, low as is the status of cooking as a science, as an art it is
lower. Since the wife-cook’s main industry is to please,—that being her
chief means of getting what she wants or of expressing affection,—she
early learned to cater to the palate instead of faithfully studying and
meeting the needs of the stomach. For uncounted generations the grown
man and the growing child have been subject to the constant efforts of
her who cooked from affection, not from knowledge,—who cooked to please.
This is one of the widest pathways of evil that has ever been opened. In
every field of life it is an evil to put the incident before the object,
the means before the end; and here it has produced that familiar result
whereby we live to eat instead of eating to live.

This attitude of the woman has developed the rambling excess called
“fancy cookery,”—a thing as far removed from true artistic development
as a swinging ice-pitcher from a Greek vase. Through this has come the
limitless unhealthy folly of high living, in which human labor and time
and skill are wasted in producing what is neither pure food nor pure
pleasure, but an artificial performance, to be appreciated only by the
virtuoso. Lower living could hardly be imagined than that which results
from this unnatural race between artifice and appetite, in which body
and soul are both corrupted.

In the man, the subject of all this dining-room devotion, has been
developed and maintained that cultivated interest in his personal tastes
and their gratification,—that demand for things which he likes rather
than for things which he knows to be good, wherein lies one of the most
dangerous elements in character known to the psychologist. The sequences
of this affectionate catering to physical appetites may be traced far
afield to its last result in the unchecked indulgence in personal tastes
and desires, in drug habits and all intemperance. The temperament which
is unable to resist these temptations is constantly being bred at home.

As the concentration of woman’s physical energies on the sex-functions,
enforced by her economic dependence, has tended to produce and maintain
man’s excess in sex-indulgence, to the injury of the race; so the
concentration of woman’s industrial energies on the close and constant
service of personal tastes and appetites has tended to produce and
maintain an excess in table indulgence, both in eating and drinking,
which is also injurious to the race. It is not here alleged that this is
the only cause of our habits of this nature; but it is one of primal
importance, and of ceaseless action.

We can perhaps see its working better by a light-minded analogy than by
a bold statement. Suppose two large, healthy, nimble apes. Suppose that
the male ape did not allow the female ape to skip about and pluck her
own cocoanuts, but brought to her what she was to have. Suppose that she
was then required to break the shell, pick out the meat, prepare for the
male what he wished to consume; and suppose, further, that her share in
the dinner, to say nothing of her chance of a little pleasure excursion
in the treetops afterward, was dependent on his satisfaction with the
food she prepared for him. She, as an ape of intelligence, would seek,
by all devices known to her, to add stimulus and variety to the meals
she arranged, to select the bits he specially preferred to please his
taste and to meet his appetite; and he, developing under this agreeable
pressure, would gradually acquire a fine discrimination in foods, and
would look forward to his elaborate feasts with increasing complacency.
He would have a new force to make him eat,—not only his need of food,
with its natural and healthy demands, but her need of—everything, acting
through his need of food.

This sounds somewhat absurd in a family of apes, but it is precisely
what has occurred in the human family. To gratify her husband has been
the woman’s way of obtaining her own ends, and she has of necessity
learned how to do it; and, as she has been in general an uneducated and
unskilled worker, she could only seek to please him through what powers
she had,—mainly those of house service. She has been set to serve two
appetites, and to profit accordingly. She has served them well, but the
profit to either party is questionable.

On lines of social development we are progressing from the gross gorging
of the savage on whatever food he could seize, toward the discriminating
selection of proper foods, and an increasing delicacy and accuracy in
their use. Against this social tendency runs the cross-current of our
sexuo-economic relation, making the preparation of food a sex function,
and confusing all its processes with the ardor of personal affection and
the dragging weight of self-interest. This method is applied, not only
to the husband, but, in a certain degree, to the children; for, where
maternal love and maternal energy are forced to express themselves
mainly in the preparation of food, the desire properly to feed the child
becomes confounded with an unwise desire to please, and the mother
degrades her high estate by catering steadily to the lower tastes of
humanity instead of to the higher.

Our general notion is that we have lifted and ennobled our eating and
drinking by combining them with love. On the contrary, we have lowered
and degraded our love by combining it with eating and drinking; and,
what is more, we have lowered these habits also. Some progress has been
made, socially; but this unhappy mingling of sex-interest and
self-interest with normal appetites, this Cupid-in-the-kitchen
arrangement, has gravely impeded that progress. Professional cooking has
taught us much. Commerce and manufacture have added to our range of
supplies. Science has shown us what we need, and how and when we need
it. But the affectionate labor of wife and mother is little touched by
these advances. If she goes to the cooking school, it is to learn how to
make the rich delicacies that will please rather than to study the
nutritive value of food in order to guard the health of the household.
From the constantly enlarging stores opened to her through man’s
activities she chooses widely, to make “a variety” that shall kindle
appetite, knowing nothing of the combination best for physical needs. As
to science, chemistry, hygiene,—they are but names to her. “John likes
it so.” “Willie won’t eat it so.” “Your father never could bear
cabbage.” She must consider what he likes, not only because she loves to
please him or because she profits by pleasing him, but because he pays
for the dinner, and she is a private servant.

Is it not time that the way to a man’s heart through his stomach should
be relinquished for some higher avenue? The stomach should be left to
its natural uses, not made a thoroughfare for stranger passions and
purposes; and the heart should be approached through higher channels. We
need a new picture of our overworked blind god,—fat, greasy, pampered
with sweetmeats by the poor worshippers long forced to pay their
devotion through such degraded means.

No, the human race is not well nourished by making the process of
feeding it a sex-function. The selection and preparation of food should
be in the hands of trained experts. And woman should stand beside man as
the comrade of his soul, not the servant of his body.

This will require large changes in our method of living. To feed the
world by expert service, bringing to that great function the skill and
experience of the trained specialist, the power of science, and the
beauty of art, is impossible in the sexuo-economic relation. While we
treat cooking as a sex-function common to all women and eating as a
family function not otherwise rightly accomplished, we can develope no
farther. We are spending much earnest study and hard labor to-day on the
problem of teaching and training women in the art of cooking, both the
wife and the servant; for, with our usual habit of considering voluntary
individual conduct as the cause of conditions, we seek to modify
conditions by changing individual conduct.

What we must recognize is that, while the conditions remain, the conduct
cannot be altered. Any trade or profession, the development of which
depended upon the labor of isolated individuals, assisted only by hired
servants more ignorant than themselves, would remain at a similarly low

So far as health can be promoted by public means, we are steadily
improving by sanitary regulations and medical inspection, by
professionally prepared “health foods” and by the literature of hygiene,
by special legislation as to contagious diseases and dangerous trades;
but the health that lies in the hands of the housewife is not reached by
these measures. The nine-tenths of our women who do their own work
cannot be turned into proficient purchasers and cooks any more than
nine-tenths of our men could be turned into proficient tailors with no
better training or opportunity than would be furnished by clothing their
own families. The alternative remaining to the women who comprise the
other tenth is that peculiar survival of earlier labor methods known as
“domestic service.”

As a method of feeding humanity, hired domestic service is inferior even
to the service of the wife and mother, and brings to the art of cooking
an even lower degree of training and a narrower experience. The majority
of domestic servants are young girls who leave this form of service for
marriage as soon as they are able; and we thus intrust the physical
health of human beings, so far as cooking affects it, to the hands of
untrained, immature women, of the lowest social grade, who are actuated
by no higher impulse than that of pecuniary necessity. The love of the
wife and mother stimulates at least her desire to feed her family well.
The servant has no such motive. The only cases in which domestic cooking
reaches anything like proficiency are those in which the wife and mother
is “a natural-born cook,” and regales her family with the products of
genius, or those in which the households of the rich are able to command
the service of professionals.

There was a time when kings and lords retained their private poets to
praise and entertain them; but the poet is not truly great until he
sings for the world. So the art of cooking can never be lifted to its
true place as a human need and a social function by private service.
Such an arrangement of our lives and of our houses as will allow cooking
to become a profession is the only way in which to free this great art
from its present limitations. It should be a reputable, well-paid
profession, wherein those women or those men who were adapted to this
form of labor could become cooks, as they would become composers or
carpenters. Natural distinctions would be developed between the mere
craftsman and the artist; and we should have large, new avenues of
lucrative and honorable industry, and a new basis for human health and

This does not involve what is known as “co-operation.” Co-operation, in
the usual sense, is the union of families for the better performance of
their supposed functions. The process fails because the principle is
wrong. Cooking and cleaning are not family functions. We do not have a
family mouth, a family stomach, a family face to be washed. Individuals
require to be fed and cleaned from birth to death, quite irrespective of
their family relations. The orphan, the bachelor, the childless widower,
have as much need of these nutritive and excretive processes as any
patriarchal parent. Eating is an individual function. Cooking is a
social function. Neither is in the faintest degree a family function.
That we have found it convenient in early stages of civilization to do
our cooking at home proves no more than the allied fact that we have
also found it convenient in such stages to do our weaving and spinning
at home, our soap and candle making, our butchering and pickling, our
baking and washing.

As society developes, its functions specialize; and the reason why this
great race-function of cooking has been so retarded in its natural
growth is that the economic dependence of women has kept them back from
their share in human progress. When women stand free as economic agents,
they will lift and free their arrested functions, to the much better
fulfilment of their duties as wives and mothers and to the vast
improvement in health and happiness of the human race.

Co-operation is not what is required for this, but trained professional
service and such arrangement of our methods of living as shall allow us
to benefit by such service. When numbers of people patronize the same
tailor or baker or confectioner, they do not co-operate. Neither would
they co-operate in patronizing the same cook. The change must come from
the side of the cook, not from the side of the family. It must come
through natural functional development in society, and it is so coming.
Woman, recognizing that her duty as feeder and cleaner is a social duty,
not a sexual one, must face the requirements of the situation, and
prepare herself to meet them. A hundred years ago this could not have
been done. Now it is being done, because the time is ripe for it.

If there should be built and opened in any of our large cities to-day a
commodious and well-served apartment house for professional women with
families, it would be filled at once. The apartments would be without
kitchens; but there would be a kitchen belonging to the house from which
meals could be served to the families in their rooms or in a common
dining-room, as preferred. It would be a home where the cleaning was
done by efficient workers, not hired separately by the families, but
engaged by the manager of the establishment; and a roof-garden, day
nursery, and kindergarten, under well-trained professional nurses and
teachers, would insure proper care of the children. The demand for such
provision is increasing daily, and must soon be met, not by a
boarding-house or a lodging-house, a hotel, a restaurant, or any
makeshift patching together of these; but by a permanent provision for
the needs of women and children, of family privacy with collective
advantage. This must be offered on a business basis to prove a
substantial business success; and it will so prove, for it is a growing
social need.

There are hundreds of thousands of women in New York City alone who are
wage-earners, and who also have families; and the number increases. This
is true not only among the poor and unskilled, but more and more among
business women, professional women, scientific, artistic, literary
women. Our school-teachers, who form a numerous class, are not entirely
without relatives. To board does not satisfy the needs of a human soul.
These women want homes, but they do not want the clumsy tangle of
rudimentary industries that are supposed to accompany the home. The
strain under which such women labor is no longer necessary. The privacy
of the home could be as well maintained in such a building as described
as in any house in a block, any room, flat, or apartment, under present
methods. The food would be better, and would cost less; and this would
be true of the service and of all common necessities.

In suburban homes this purpose could be accomplished much better by a
grouping of adjacent houses, each distinct and having its own yard, but
all kitchenless, and connected by covered ways with the eating-house. No
detailed prophecy can be made of the precise forms which would
ultimately prove most useful and pleasant; but the growing social need
is for the specializing of the industries practised in the home and for
the proper mechanical provision for them.

The cleaning required in each house would be much reduced by the removal
of the two chief elements of household dirt,—grease and ashes.

Meals could of course be served in the house as long as desired; but,
when people become accustomed to pure, clean homes, where no steaming
industry is carried on, they will gradually prefer to go to their food
instead of having it brought to them. It is a perfectly natural process,
and a healthful one, to go to one’s food. And, after all, the changes
between living in one room, and so having the cooking most absolutely
convenient; going as far as the limits of a large house permit, to one’s
own dining-room; and going a little further to a dining-room not in
one’s own house, but near by,—these differ but in degree. Families could
go to eat together, just as they can go to bathe together or to listen
to music together; but, if it fell out that different individuals
presumed to develope an appetite at different hours, they could meet it
without interfering with other people’s comfort or sacrificing their
own. Any housewife knows the difficulty of always getting a family
together at meals. Why try? Then arises sentiment, and asserts that
family affection, family unity, the very existence of the family, depend
on their being together at meals. A family unity which is only bound
together with a table-cloth is of questionable value.

There are several professions involved in our clumsy method of
housekeeping. A good cook is not necessarily a good manager, nor a good
manager an accurate and thorough cleaner, nor a good cleaner a wise
purchaser. Under the free development of these branches a woman could
choose her position, train for it, and become a most valuable
functionary in her special branch, all the while living in her own home;
that is, she would live in it as a man lives in his home, spending
certain hours of the day at work and others at home.

This division of the labor of housekeeping would require the service of
fewer women for fewer hours a day. Where now twenty women in twenty
homes work all the time, and insufficiently accomplish their varied
duties, the same work in the hands of specialists could be done in less
time by fewer people; and the others would be left free to do other work
for which they were better fitted, thus increasing the productive power
of the world. Attempts at co-operation so far have endeavored to lessen
the existing labors of women without recognizing their need for other
occupation, and this is one reason for their repeated failure.

It seems almost unnecessary to suggest that women as economic producers
will naturally choose those professions which are compatible with
motherhood, and there are many professions much more in harmony with
that function than the household service. Motherhood is not a remote
contingency, but the common duty and the common glory of womanhood. If
women did choose professions unsuitable to maternity, Nature would
quietly extinguish them by her unvarying process. Those mothers who
persisted in being acrobats, horse-breakers, or sailors before the mast,
would probably not produce vigorous and numerous children. If they did,
it would simply prove that such work did not hurt them. There is no fear
to be wasted on the danger of women’s choosing wrong professions, when
they are free to choose. Many women would continue to prefer the very
kinds of work which they are doing now, in the new and higher methods of
execution. Even cleaning, rightly understood and practised, is a useful,
and therefore honorable, profession. It has been amusing heretofore to
see how this least desirable of labors has been so innocently held to be
woman’s natural duty. It is woman, the dainty, the beautiful, the
beloved wife and revered mother, who has by common consent been expected
to do the chamber-work and scullery work of the world. All that is
basest and foulest she in the last instance must handle and remove.
Grease, ashes, dust, foul linen, and sooty ironware,—among these her
days must pass. As we socialize our functions, this passes from her
hands into those of man. The city’s cleaning is his work. And even in
our houses the professional cleaner is more and more frequently a man.

The organization of household industries will simplify and centralize
its cleaning processes, allowing of many mechanical conveniences and the
application of scientific skill and thoroughness. We shall be cleaner
than we ever were before. There will be less work to do, and far better
means of doing it. The daily needs of a well-plumbed house could be met
easily by each individual in his or her own room or by one who liked to
do such work; and the labor less frequently required would be furnished
by an expert, who would clean one home after another with the swift
skill of training and experience. The home would cease to be to us a
workshop or a museum, and would become far more the personal expression
of its occupants—the place of peace and rest, of love and privacy—than
it can be in its present condition of arrested industrial development.
And woman will fill her place in those industries with far better
results than are now provided by her ceaseless struggles, her
conscientious devotion, her pathetic ignorance and inefficiency.


As self-conscious creatures, to whom is always open the easy error of
mistaking feeling for fact, to whose consciousness indeed the feeling is
the fact,—a further process of reasoning being required to infer the
fact from the feeling,—we are not greatly to be blamed for laying such
stress on sentiment and emotion. We may perhaps admit, in the light of
cold reasoning, that the home is not the best place in which to do so
much work in, nor the wife and mother the best person to do it. But this
intellectual conviction by no means alters our feeling on the subject.
Feeling, deep, long established, and over-stimulated, lies thick over
the whole field of home life. Not what we think about it (for we never
have thought about it very much), but what we feel about it, constitutes
the sum of our opinion. Many of our feelings are true, right,
legitimate. Some are fatuous absurdities, mere dangling relics of
outgrown tradition, slowly moulting from us as we grow.

Consider, for instance, that long-standing popular myth known as “the
privacy of the home.” There is something repugnant in the idea of food
cooked outside the home, even though served within it; still more in the
going out of the family to eat, and more yet in the going out of
separate individuals to eat. The limitless personal taste developed by
“home cooking” fears that it will lose its own particular shade of brown
on the bacon, its own hottest of hot cakes, its own corner biscuit.

This objection must be honestly faced, and admitted in some degree. A
_menu_, however liberally planned by professional cooks, would not allow
so much play for personal idiosyncrasy as do those prepared by the
numerous individual cooks now serving us. There would be a far larger
range of choice in materials, but not so much in methods of preparation
and service. The difference would be like that between every man’s
making his own coat or having his women servants make it for him, on the
one hand, and his selecting one from many ready made or ordering it of
his tailor, on the other.

In the regular professional service of food there would be a good
general standard, and the work of specialists for special occasions. We
have long seen this process going on in the steady increase of
professionally prepared food, from the cheap eating-house to the
fashionable caterer, from the common “cracker” to the delicate “wafer.”
“Home cooking,” robbed of its professional adjuncts, would fall a long
way. We do not realize how far we have already progressed in this line,
nor how fast we are going.

One of the most important effects of a steady general standard of good
food will be the elevation of the popular taste. We should acquire a
cultivated appreciation of what _is_ good food, far removed from the
erratic and whimsical self-indulgence of the private table. Our only
standard of taste in cooking is personal appetite and caprice. That we
“like” a dish is enough to warrant full approval. But liking is only
adaptation. Nature is forever seeking to modify the organism to the
environment; and, when it becomes so modified, so adapted, the organism
“likes” the environment. In the earlier form, “it likes me,” this
derivation is plainer.

Each nation, each locality, each family, each individual, “likes,” in
large measure, those things to which it has been accustomed. What else
it might have liked, if it had had it, can never be known; but the slow
penetration of new tastes and habits, the reluctant adoption of the
potato, the tomato, maize, and other new vegetables by old countries,
show that it is quite possible to change a liking.

In the narrow range of family capacity to supply and of family ability
to prepare our food, and in our exaggerated intensity of personal
preference, we have grown very rigid in our little field of choice. We
insist on the superiority of our own methods, and despise the methods of
our neighbors, with a sublime ignorance of any higher standard of
criticism than our own uneducated tastes. When we become accustomed from
childhood to scientifically and artistically prepared foods, we shall
grow to know what is good and to enjoy it, as we learn to know good
music by hearing it.

As we learn to appreciate a wider and higher range of cooking, we shall
also learn to care for simplicity in this art. Neither is attainable
under our present system by the average person. As cooking becomes
dissociated from the home, we shall gradually cease to attach emotions
to it; and we shall learn to judge it impersonally upon a scientific and
artistic basis. This will not, of course, prevent some persons’ having
peculiar tastes; but these will know that they are peculiar, and so will
their neighbors. It will not prevent, either, the woman who has a
dilettante fondness for some branch of cookery, wherewith she loves to
delight herself and her friends, from keeping a small cooking plant
within reach, as she might a sewing-machine or a turning-lathe.

In regard to the eating of food we are still more opposed by the
“privacy of the home” idea, and a marked—indeed, a pained—disinclination
to dissociate that function from family life. To eat together does, of
course, form a temporary bond. To establish a medium of communication
between dissimilar persons, some common ground must be found,—some rite,
some game, some entertainment,—something that they can _do_ together.
And, if the persons desiring to associate have no other common ground
than this physical function,—which is so common, indeed, that it
includes not only all humanity, but all the animal kingdom,—then by all
means let them seek that. On occasions of general social rejoicing to
celebrate some event of universal importance, the feast will always be a
natural and satisfying institution.

To the primitive husband with fighting for his industry, the primitive
wife with domestic service for hers, the primitive children with no
relation to their parents but the physical,—to such a common table was
the only common tie; and the simplicity of their food furnished a medium
that hurt no one. But in the higher individualization of modern life the
process of eating is by no means the only common interest among members
of a family, and by no means the best. The sweetest, tenderest, holiest
memories of family life are not connected with the table, though many
jovial and pleasant ones may be so associated. And on many an occasion
of deep feeling, whether of joy or of pain, the ruthless averaging of
the whole group three times a day at table becomes an unbearable strain.
If good food suited to a wide range of needs were always attainable, a
family could go and feast together when it chose or simply eat together
when it chose; and each individual could go alone when he chose. This is
not to be forced or hurried; but, with a steady supply of food, easy of
access to all, the stomach need no longer be compelled to serve as a
family tie.

We have so far held that the lower animals ate alone in their brutality,
and that man has made eating a social function, and so elevated it. The
elevation is the difficult part to prove, when we look at humanity’s
gross habits, morbid tastes, and deadly diseases, its artifice, and its
unutterable depravity of gluttony and intemperance. The animals may be
lower than we in their simple habit of eating what is good for them when
they are hungry, but it serves their purpose well.

One result of our making eating a social function is that, the more
elaborately we socialize it, the more we require at our feasts the
service of a number of strangers absolutely shut out from social
intercourse,—functionaries who do not eat with us, who do not talk with
us, who must not by the twinkling of an eyelash show any interest in
this performance, save to minister to the grosser needs of the occasion
on a strictly commercial basis. Such extraneous presence must and does
keep the conversation at one level. In the family without a servant both
mother and father are too hard worked to make the meal a social success;
and, as soon as servants are introduced, a limit is set to the range of
conversation. The effect of our social eating, either in families or in
larger groups, is not wholly good. It is well open to question whether
we cannot, in this particular, improve our system of living.

When the cooking of the world is open to full development by those whose
natural talent and patient study lead them to learn how better and
better to meet the needs of the body by delicate and delicious
combinations of the elements of nutrition, we shall begin to understand
what food means to us, and how to build up the human body in sweet
health and full vigor. A world of pure, strong, beautiful men and women,
knowing what they ought to eat and drink, and taking it when they need
it, will be capable of much higher and subtler forms of association than
this much-prized common table furnishes. The contented grossness of
to-day, the persistent self-indulgence of otherwise intelligent adults,
the fatness and leanness and feebleness, the whole train of food-made
disorders, together with all drug habits,—these morbid phenomena are
largely traceable to the abnormal attention given to both eating and
cooking, which must accompany them as family functions. When we detach
them from this false position by untangling the knot of our
sexuo-economic relation, we shall give natural forces a chance to work
their own pure way in us, and make us better.

Our domestic privacy is held to be further threatened by the invasion of
professional cleaners. We should see that a kitchenless home will
require far less cleaning than is now needed, and that the daily
ordering of one’s own room could be easily accomplished by the
individual, when desired. Many would so desire, keeping their own rooms,
their personal inner chambers, inviolate from other presence than that
of their nearest and dearest. Such an ideal of privacy may seem
ridiculous to those who accept contentedly the gross publicity of our
present method. Of all popular paradoxes, none is more nakedly absurd
than to hear us prate of privacy in a place where we cheerfully admit to
our table-talk and to our door service—yes, and to the making of our
beds and to the handling of our clothing—a complete stranger, a stranger
not only by reason of new acquaintance and of the false view inevitable
to new eyes let in upon our secrets, but a stranger by birth, almost
always an alien in race, and, more hopeless still, a stranger by
breeding, one who can never truly understand.

This stranger all of us who can afford it summon to our homes,—one or
more at once, and many in succession. If, like barbaric kings of old or
bloody pirates of the main, we cut their tongues out that they might not
tell, it would still remain an irreconcilable intrusion. But, as it is,
with eyes to see, ears to hear, and tongues to speak, with no other
interests to occupy their minds, and with the retaliatory fling that
follows the enforced silence of those who must not “answer back,”—with
this observing and repeating army lodged in the very bosom of the
family, may we not smile a little bitterly at our fond ideal of “the
privacy of the home”? The swift progress of professional sweepers,
dusters, and scrubbers, through rooms where they were wanted, and when
they were wanted, would be at least no more injurious to privacy than
the present method. Indeed, the exclusion of the domestic servant, and
the entrance of woman on a plane of interest at once more social and
more personal, would bring into the world a new conception of the
sacredness of privacy, a feeling for the rights of the individual as yet

Closely connected with the question of cleaning is that of household
decoration and furnishing. The economically dependent woman, spending
the accumulating energies of the race in her small cage, has thrown out
a tangled mass of expression, as a large plant throws out roots in a
small pot. She has crowded her limited habitat with unlimited
things,—things useful and unuseful, ornamental and unornamental,
comfortable and uncomfortable; and the labor of her life is to wait upon
these things, and keep them clean.

The free woman, having room for full individual expression in her
economic activities and in her social relation, will not be forced so to
pour out her soul in tidies and photograph holders. The home will be her
place of rest, not of uneasy activity; and she will learn to love
simplicity at last. This will mean better sanitary conditions in the
home, more beauty and less work. And the trend of the new conditions,
enhancing the value of real privacy and developing the sense of beauty,
will be toward a delicate loveliness in the interiors of our houses,
which the owners can keep in order without undue exertion.

Besides these comparatively external conditions, there are psychic
effects produced upon the family by the sexuo-economic relation not
altogether favorable to our best growth. One is the levelling effect of
the group upon its members, under pressure of this relation. Such
privacy as we do have in our homes is family privacy, an aggregate
privacy; and this does not insure—indeed, it prevents—individual
privacy. This is another of the lingering rudiments of methods of living
belonging to ages long since outgrown, and maintained among us by the
careful preservation of primitive customs in the unchanged position of
women. In very early times a crude and undifferentiated people could
flock in family groups in one small tent without serious inconvenience
or injury. The effects of such grouping on modern people is known in the
tenement districts of large cities, where families live in single rooms;
and these effects are of a distinctly degrading nature.

The progressive individuation of human beings requires a personal home,
one room at least for each person. This need forces some recognition for
itself in family life, and is met so far as private purses in private
houses can meet it; but for the vast majority of the population no such
provision is possible. To women, especially, a private room is the
luxury of the rich alone. Even where a partial provision for personal
needs is made under pressure of social development, the other pressure
of undeveloped family life is constantly against it. The home is the one
place on earth where no one of the component individuals can have any
privacy. A family is a crude aggregate of persons of different ages,
sizes, sexes, and temperaments, held together by sex-ties and economic
necessity; and the affection which should exist between the members of a
family is not increased in the least by the economic pressure, rather it
is lessened. Such affection as is maintained by economic forces is not
the kind which humanity most needs.

At present any tendency to withdraw and live one’s own life on any plane
of separate interest or industry is naturally resented, or at least
regretted, by the other members of the family. This affects women more
than men, because men live very little in the family and very much in
the world. The man has his individual life, his personal expression and
its rights, his office, studio, shop: the women and children live in the
home—because they must. For a woman to wish to spend much time elsewhere
is considered wrong, and the children have no choice. The historic
tendency of women to “gad abroad,” of children to run away, to be
forever teasing for permission to go and play somewhere else; the
ceaseless, futile, well-meant efforts to “keep the boys at home,”—these
facts, together with the definite absence of the man of the home for so
much of the time, constitute a curious commentary upon our patient
belief that we live at home, and like it. Yet the home ties bind us with
a gentle dragging hold that few can resist. Those who do resist, and who
insist upon living their individual lives, find that this costs them
loneliness and privation; and they lose so much in daily comfort and
affection that others are deterred from following them.

There is no reason why this painful choice should be forced upon us, no
reason why the home life of the human race should not be such as to
allow—yes, to promote—the highest development of personality. We need
the society of those dear to us, their love and their companionship.
These will endure. But the common cook-shops of our industrially
undeveloped homes, and all the allied evils, are not essential, and need
not endure.

To our general thought the home just as it stands is held to be what is
best for us. We imagine that it is at home that we learn the higher
traits, the nobler emotions,—that the home teaches us how to live. The
truth beneath this popular concept is this: the love of the mother for
the child is at the base of all our higher love for one another. Indeed,
even behind that lies the generous giving impulse of sex-love, the
outgoing force of sex-energy. The family relations ensuing do underlie
our higher, wider social relations. The “home comforts” are essential to
the preservation of individual life. And the bearing and forbearing of
home life, with the dominant, ceaseless influence of conservative
femininity, is a most useful check to the irregular flying impulses of
masculine energy. While the world lasts, we shall need not only the
individual home, but the family home, the common sheath for the budded
leaflets of each new branch, held close to the parent stem before they
finally diverge.

Granting all this, there remains the steadily increasing ill effect, not
of home life _per se_, but of the kind of home life based on the
sexuo-economic relation. A home in which the rightly dominant feminine
force is held at a primitive plane of development, and denied free
participation in the swift, wide, upward movement of the world, reacts
upon those who hold it down by holding them down in turn. A home in
which the inordinate love of receiving things, so long bred into one
sex, and the fierce hunger for procuring things, so carefully trained
into the other, continually act upon the child, keeps ever before his
eyes the fact that life consists in getting dinner and in getting the
money to pay for it, getting the food from the market, working forever
and ever to cook and serve it. These are the prominent facts of the home
as we have made it. The kind of care in which our lives are spent, the
things that wear and worry us, are things that should have been outgrown
long, long ago if the human race had advanced evenly. Man has advanced,
but woman has been kept behind. By inheritance she advances, by
experience she is retarded, being always forced back to the economic
grade of many thousand years ago.

If a modern man, with all his intellect and energy and resource, were
forced to spend all his days hunting with a bow and arrow, fishing with
a bone-pointed spear, waiting hungrily on his traps and snares in hope
of prey, he could not bring to his children or to his wife the uplifting
influences of the true manhood of our time. Even if he started with a
college education, even if he had large books to read (when he had time
to read them) and improving conversation, still the economic efforts of
his life, the steady daily pressure of what he had to do for his living,
would check the growth of higher powers. If all men had to be hunters
from day to day, the world would be savage still. While all women have
to be house servants from day to day, we are still a servile world.

A home life with a dependent mother, a servant-wife, is not an ennobling
influence. We all feel this at times. The man, spreading and growing
with the world’s great growth, comes home, and settles into the tiny
talk and fret, or the alluring animal comfort of the place, with a
distinct sense of coming down. It is pleasant, it is gratifying to every
sense, it is kept warm and soft and pretty to suit the needs of the
feebler and smaller creature who is forced to stay in it. It is even
considered a virtue for the man to stay in it and to prize it, to value
his slippers and his newspaper, his hearth fire and his supper table,
his spring bed, and his clean clothes above any other interests.

The harm does not lie in loving home and in staying there as one can,
but in the kind of a home and in the kind of womanhood that it fosters,
in the grade of industrial development on which it rests. And here,
without prophesying, it is easy to look along the line of present
progress, and see whither our home life tends. From the cave and tent
and hovel up to a graded, differentiated home, with as much room for the
individual as the family can afford; from the surly dominance of the
absolute patriarch, with his silent servile women and chattel children,
to the comparative freedom, equality, and finely diversified lives of a
well-bred family of to-day; from the bottom grade of industry in the
savage camp, where all things are cooked together by the same person in
the same pot,—without neatness, without delicacy, without
specialization,—to the million widely separated hands that serve the
home to-day in a thousand wide-spread industries,—the man and the mill
have achieved it all; the woman has but gone shopping outside, and
stayed at the base of the pyramid within.

And, more important and suggestive yet, mark this: whereas, in historic
beginnings, nothing but the home of the family existed; slowly, as we
have grown, has developed the home of the individual. The first wider
movement of social life meant a freer flux of population,—trade,
commerce, exchange, communication. Along river courses and sea margins,
from canoe to steamship, along paths and roads as they made them, from
“shank’s mare to the iron horse,” faster and freer, wider and oftener,
the individual human beings have flowed and mingled in the life that is
humanity. At first the traveller’s only help was hospitality,—the right
of the stranger; but his increasing functional use brought with it, of
necessity, the organic structure which made it easy, the transitory
individual home. From the most primitive caravansary up to the square
miles of floor-space in our grand hotels, the public house has met the
needs of social evolution as no private house could have done.

To man, so far the only fully human being of his age, the bachelor
apartment of some sort has been a temporary home for that part of his
life wherein he had escaped from one family and not yet entered another.
To woman this possibility is opening to-day. More and more we see women
presuming to live and have a home, even though they have not a family.
The family home itself is more and more yielding to the influence of
progress. Once it was stationary and permanent, occupied from generation
to generation. Now we move, even in families,—move with reluctance and
painful objection and with bitter sacrifice of household goods; but move
we must under the increasing irritation of irreconcilable conditions.
And so has sprung up and grown to vast proportions that startling,
portent of our times, the “family hotel.”

Consider it. Here is the inn, once a mere makeshift stopping-place for
weary travellers. Yet even so the weary traveller long since noted the
difference between his individual freedom there and his home
restrictions, and cheerfully remarked, “I take mine ease in mine inn.”
Here is this temporary stopping-place for single men become a permanent
dwelling-place for families! Not from financial necessity. These are
inhabited by people who could well afford to “keep house.” But they do
not want to keep house. They are tired of keeping house. It is so
difficult to keep house, the servant problem is so trying. The health of
their wives is not equal to keeping house. These are the things they

But under these vague perceptions and expressions is heaving and
stirring a slow, uprising social tide. The primitive home, based on the
economic dependence of woman, with its unorganized industries, its
servile labors, its smothering drag on individual development, is
becoming increasingly unsuitable to the men and women of to-day. Of
course, they hark back to it, of necessity, so long as marriage and
child-bearing are supposed to require it, so long as our fondest
sentiments and our earliest memories so closely cling to it. But in its
practical results, as shown by the ever-rising draught upon the man’s
purse and the woman’s strength, it is fast wearing out.

We have watched the approach of this condition, and have laid it to
every cause but the real one. We have blamed men for not staying at home
as they once did. We have blamed women for not being as good
housekeepers as they once were. We have blamed the children for their
discontent, the servants for their inefficiency, the very brick and
mortar for their poor construction. But we have never thought to blame
the institution itself, and see whether it could not be improved upon.

On wide Western prairies, or anywhere in lonely farm houses, the women
of to-day, confined absolutely to this strangling cradle of the race, go
mad by scores and hundreds. Our asylums show a greater proportion of
insane women among farmers’ wives than in any other class. In the
cities, where there is less “home life,” people seem to stand it better.
There are more distractions, the men say, and seek them. There is more
excitement, amusement, variety, the women say, and seek them. What is
really felt is the larger social interests and the pressure of forces
newer than those of the home circle.

Many fear this movement, and vainly strive to check it. There is no
cause for alarm. We are not going to lose our homes nor our families,
nor any of the sweetness and happiness that go with them. But we are
going to lose our kitchens, as we have lost our laundries and bakeries.
The cook-stove will follow the loom and wheel, the wool-carder and
shears. We shall have homes that are places to live in and love in, to
rest in and play in, to be alone in and to be together in; and they will
not be confused and declassed by admixture with any industry whatever.

In homes like these the family life will have all its finer, truer
spirit well maintained; and the cares and labors that now mar its beauty
will have passed out into fields of higher fulfilment. The relation of
wife to husband and mother to child is changing for the better with this
outward alteration. All the personal relations of the family will be
open to a far purer and fuller growth.

Nothing in the exquisite pathos of woman’s long subjection goes deeper
to the heart than the degradation of motherhood by the very conditions
we supposed were essential to it. To see the mother’s heart and mind
longing to go with the child, to help it all the way, and yet to see it
year by year pass farther from her, learn things she never was allowed
to know, do things she never was allowed to do, go out into “the world
”—their world, not hers—alone, and

        “To bear, to nurse, to rear, to love, and then to lose!”

this not by the natural separation of growth and personal divergence,
but by the unnatural separation of falsely divided classes,—rudimentary
women and more highly developed men. It is the fissure that opens before
the boy is ten years old, and it widens with each year.

A mother economically free, a world-servant instead of a house-servant;
a mother knowing the world and living in it,—can be to her children far
more than has ever been possible before. Motherhood in the world will
make that world a different place for her child.


In reconstructing in our minds the position of woman under conditions of
economic independence, it is most difficult to think of her as a mother.

We are so unbrokenly accustomed to the old methods of motherhood, so
convinced that all its processes are inter-relative and indispensable,
and that to alter one of them is to endanger the whole relation, that we
cannot conceive of any desirable change.

When definite plans for such change are suggested,—ways in which babies
might be better cared for than at present,—we either deny the advantages
of the change proposed or insist that these advantages can be reached
under our present system. Just as in cooking we seek to train the
private cook and to exalt and purify the private taste, so in
baby-culture we seek to train the individual mother, and to call for
better conditions in the private home; in both cases ignoring the
relation between our general system and its particular phenomena. Though
it may be shown, with clearness, that in physical conditions the private
house, as a place in which to raise children, may be improved upon, yet
all the more stoutly do we protest that the mental life, the emotional
life, of the home is the best possible environment for the young.

There was a time in human history when this was true. While progress
derived its main impetus from the sex-passion, and the highest emotions
were those that held us together in the family relation, such education
and such surroundings as fostered and intensified these emotions were
naturally the best. But in the stage into which we are now growing, when
the family relation is only a part of life, and our highest duties lie
between individuals in social relation, the child has new needs.

This does not mean, as the scared rush of the unreasoning mind to an
immediate opposite would suggest, a disruption of the family circle or
the destruction of the home. It does not mean the separation of mother
and child,—that instant dread of the crude instinct of animal maternity.
But it does mean a change of basis in the family relation by the removal
of its previous economic foundation, and a change of method in our
child-culture. We are no more bound to maintain forever our early
methods in baby-raising than we are bound to maintain them in the
education of older children, or in floriculture. All human life is in
its very nature open to improvement, and motherhood is not excepted. The
relation between men and women, between husband and wife, between parent
and child, changes inevitably with social advance; but we are loath to
admit it. We think a change here must be wrong, because we are so
convinced that the present condition is right.

On examination, however, we find that the existing relation between
parents and children in the home is by no means what we unquestioningly
assume. We all hold certain ideals of home life, of family life. When we
see around us, or read of, scores and hundreds of cases of family
unhappiness and open revolt, we lay it to the individual misbehavior of
the parties concerned, and go on implicitly believing in the intrinsic
perfection of the institution. When, on the other hand, we find people
living together in this relation, in peace and love and courtesy, we do
not conversely attribute this to individual superiority and virtue; but
we point to it as instancing the innate beauty of the relation.

To the careful sociological observer what really appears is this: when
individual and racial progress was best served by the close associations
of family life, people were very largely developed in capacity for
family affection. They were insensitive to the essential limitations and
incessant friction of the relation. They assented to the absolute
authority of the head of the family and to the minor despotism of lower
functionaries, manifesting none of those sharply defined individual
characteristics which are so inimical to the family relation.

But we have reached a stage where individual and racial progress is best
served by the higher specialization of individuals and by a far wider
sense of love and duty. This change renders the psychic condition of
home life increasingly disadvantageous. We constantly hear of the
inferior manners of the children of to-day, of the restlessness of the
young, of the flat treason of deserting parents. It is visibly not so
easy to live at home as it used to be. Our children are not more
perversely constituted than the children of earlier ages, but the
conditions in which they are reared are not suited to develope the
qualities now needed in human beings.

This increasing friction between members of families should not be
viewed with condemnation from a moral point of view, but studied with
scientific interest. If our families are so relatively uncomfortable
under present conditions, are there not conditions wherein the same
families could be far more comfortable? No: we are afraid not. We think
it is right to have things as they are, wrong to wish to change them. We
think that virtue lies largely in being uncomfortable, and that there is
special virtue in the existing family relation.

Virtue is a relative term. Human virtues change from age to age with the
change in conditions. Consider the great virtue of loyalty,—our highest
name for duty. This is a quality that became valuable in human life the
moment we began to do things which were not instantly and visibly
profitable to ourselves. The permanent application of the individual to
a task not directly attractive was an indispensable social quality, and
therefore a virtue. Steadfastness, faithfulness, loyalty, duty, that
conscious, voluntary attitude of the individual which holds him to a
previously assumed relation, even to his extreme personal injury,—to
death itself,—from this results the cohesion of the social body: it is a
first principle of social existence.

To the personal conscience a social necessity must express itself in a
recognized and accepted pressure,—a force to which we bow, a duty, a
virtue. So the virtue of loyalty came into early and lasting esteem,
whether in the form of loyalty to one’s own spoken word or vow—“He that
sweareth to his hurt, and doeth it”—to a friend or group of friends in
temporary union for some common purpose, or to a larger and more
permanent relation. The highest form is, of course, loyalty to the
largest common interest; and here we can plainly trace the growth of
this quality.

First, we see it in the vague, nebulous, coherence of the horde of
savages, then in the tense devotion of families,—that absolute duty to
the highest known social group. It was in this period that obedience to
parents was writ so large in our scale of virtues. The family feud, the
_vendetta_ of the Corsicans, is an over-development of this force of
family devotion. Next came loyalty to the chief, passing even that due
the father. And with the king—that dramatic personification of a nation,
“Lo! royal England comes!”—loyalty became a very passion. It took
precedence of every virtue, with good reason; for it was not, as was
supposed, the person of the king which was so revered: it was the
embodied nation, the far-reaching, collective interests of every
citizen, the common good, which called for the willing sacrifice of
every individual. We still exhibit all these phases of loyalty, in
differently diminishing degrees; but we show, also, a larger form of
this great virtue peculiar to our age.

The lines of social relation to-day are mainly industrial. Our
individual lives, our social peace and progress, depend more upon our
economic relations than upon any other. For a long time society was
organized only on a sex-basis, a religious basis, or a military basis,
each of such organizations being comparatively transient; and its
component individuals labored alone on an economic basis of helpless

Duty is a social sense, and developes only with social organization. As
our civil organization has become national, we have developed the sense
of duty to the State. As our industrial organization has grown to the
world-encircling intricacies of to-day, as we have come to hold our
place on earth by reason of our vast and elaborate economic relation
with its throbbing and sensitive machinery of communication and
universal interservice, the unerring response of the soul to social
needs has given us a new kind of loyalty,—loyalty to our work. The
engineer who sticks to his engine till he dies, that his trainload of
passengers may live; the cashier who submits to torture rather than
disclose the secret of the safe,—these are loyal exactly as was the
servitor of feudal times, who followed his master to the death, or the
subject who gave up all for his king. Professional honor, duty to one’s
employers, duty to the work itself, at any cost,—this is loyalty,
faithfulness, the power to stay put in a relation necessary to the
social good, though it may be directly against personal interest.

It is in the training of children for this stage of human life that the
private home has ceased to be sufficient, or the isolated, primitive,
dependent woman capable. Not that the mother does not have an intense
and overpowering sense of loyalty and of duty; but it is duty to
individuals, just as it was in the year one. What she is unable to
follow, in her enforced industrial restriction, is the higher
specialization of labor, and the honorable devotion of human lives to
the development of their work. She is most slavishly bound to her daily
duty, it is true; but it does not occur to her as a duty to raise the
grade of her own labor for the sake of humanity, nor as a sin so to keep
back the progress of the world by her contented immobility.

She cannot teach what she does not know. She cannot in any sincerity
uphold as a duty what she does not practise. The child learns more of
the virtues needed in modern life—of fairness, of justice, of
comradeship, of collective interest and action—in a common school than
can be taught in the most perfect family circle. We may preach to our
children as we will of the great duty of loving and serving one’s
neighbor; but what the baby is born into, what the child grows up to see
and feel, is the concentration of one entire life—his mother’s—upon the
personal aggrandizement of one family, and the human service of another
entire life—his father’s—so warped and strained by the necessity of
“supporting his family” that treason to society is the common price of
comfort in the home. For a man to do any base, false work for which he
is hired, work that injures producer and consumer alike; to prostitute
what power and talent he possesses to whatever purchaser may use
them,—this is justified among men by what they call duty to the family,
and is unblamed by the moral sense of dependent women.

And this is the atmosphere in which the wholly home-bred, mother-taught
child grows up. Why should not food and clothes and the comforts of his
own people stand first in his young mind? Does he not see his mother,
the all-loved, all-perfect one, peacefully spending her days in the
arrangement of these things which his father’s ceaseless labor has
procured? Why should he not grow up to care for his own, to the neglect
and willing injury of all the rest, when his earliest, deepest
impressions are formed under such exclusive devotion?

It is not the home as a place of family life and love that injures the
child, but as the centre of a tangled heap of industries, low in their
ungraded condition, and lower still because they are wholly personal.
Work the object of which is merely to serve one’s self is the lowest.
Work the object of which is merely to serve one’s family is the next
lowest. Work the object of which is to serve more and more people, in
widening range, till it approximates the divine spirit that cares for
all the world, is social service in the fullest sense, and the highest
form of service that we can reach.

It is this personality in home industry that keeps it hopelessly down.
The short range between effort and attainment, the constant attention
given to personal needs, is bad for the man, worse for the woman, and
worst for the child. It belittles his impressions of life at the start.
It accustoms him to magnify the personal duties and minify the social
ones, and it greatly retards his adjustment to larger life. This
servant-motherhood, with all its unavoidable limitation and ill results,
is the concomitant of the economic dependence of woman upon man, the
direct and inevitable effect of the sexuo-economic relation.

The child is affected by it during his most impressionable years, and
feels the effect throughout life. The woman is permanently retarded by
it; the man, less so, because of his normal social activities, wherein
he is under more developing influence. But he is injured in great
degree, and our whole civilization is checked and perverted.

We suffer also, our lives long, from an intense self-consciousness, from
a sensitiveness beyond all need; we demand measureless personal
attention and devotion, because we have been born and reared in a very
hotbed of these qualities. A baby who spent certain hours of every day
among other babies, being cared for because he was a baby, and not
because he was “my baby,” would grow to have a very different opinion of
himself from that which is forced upon each new soul that comes among us
by the ceaseless adoration of his own immediate family. What he needs to
learn at once and for all, to learn softly and easily, but inexorably,
is that he is one of many. We all dimly recognize this in our praise of
large families, and in our saying that “an only child is apt to be
selfish.” So is an only family. The earlier and more easily a child can
learn that human life means many people, and their behavior to one
another, the happier and stronger and more useful his life will be.

This could be taught him with no difficulty whatever, under certain
conditions, just as he is taught his present sensitiveness and egotism
by the present conditions. It is not only temperature and diet and rest
and exercise which affect the baby. “He does love to be noticed,” we
say. “He is never so happy as when he has a dozen worshippers around
him.” But what is the young soul learning all the while? What does he
gather, as he sees and hears and slowly absorbs impressions? With the
inflexible inferences of a clear, young brain, unsupplied with any
counter-evidence until later in life, he learns that women are meant to
wait on people, to get dinner, and sweep and pick up things; that men
are made to bring home things, and are to be begged of according to
circumstances; that babies are the object of concentrated admiration;
that their hair, hands, feet, are specially attractive; that they are
the heated focus of attention, to be passed from hand to hand, swung and
danced and amused most violently, and also be laid aside and have
nothing done to them, with no regard to their preference in either case.

And then, in the midst of all this tingling self-consciousness and
desire for loving praise, he learns that he is “naughty”! The grief, the
shame, the anger at injustice, the hopeless bewilderment, the morbid
sensitiveness of conscience or the stolid dulling of it, the gradual
retirement of the baffled brain from all these premature sensations to a
contentment with mere personal gratification and a growing ingenuity in
obtaining it,—all these experiences are the common lot of the child
among us, our common lot when we were children. Of course, we don’t
remember. Of course, we loved our mother, and thought her perfect.
Comparisons among mothers are difficult for a baby. Of course, we loved
our homes, and never dreamed of any other way of being “brought up.”
And, of course, when we have children of our own, we bring them up in
the same way. What other way is there? What is there to be said on the
subject? Children always were brought up at home. Isn’t that enough?

And yet, insidiously, slowly, irresistibly, while we flatter ourselves
that things remain the same, they are changing under our very eyes from
year to year, from day to day. Education, hiding itself behind a wall of
books, but consisting more and more fully in the grouping of children
and in the training of faculties never mentioned in the
curriculum,—education, which is our human motherhood, has crept nearer
and nearer to its true place, its best work,—the care and training of
the little child. Some women there are, and some men, whose highest
service to humanity is the care of children. Such should not concentrate
their powers upon their own children alone,—a most questionable
advantage,—but should be so placed that their talent and skill, their
knowledge and experience, would benefit the largest number of children.
Many women there are, and many men, who, though able to bring forth fine
children, are unable to educate them properly. Simply to bear children
is a personal matter,—an animal function. Education is collective,
human, a social function.

As we now arrange life, our children must take their chances while
babies, and live or die, improve or deteriorate, according to the mother
to whom they chance to be born. An inefficient mother does not prevent a
child from having a good school education or a good college education;
but the education of babyhood, the most important of all, is wholly in
her hands. It is futile to say that mothers should be taught how to
fulfil their duties. You cannot teach every mother to be a good school
educator or a good college educator. Why should you expect every mother
to be a good nursery educator? Whatever our expectations, she is not;
and our mistrained babies, such of them as survive the maternal
handling, grow to be such people as we see about us.

The growth and change in home and family life goes steadily on under and
over and through our prejudices and convictions; and the education of
the child has changed and become a social function, while we still
imagine the mother to be doing it all.

In its earliest and most rudimentary manifestations, education was but
part of the individual maternal function of the female animal. But no
sooner did the human mind begin to show capacity for giving and
receiving its impressions through language (thus attaining the power of
acquiring information through sources other than its own experience)
than the individual mother ceased to be the sole educator. The young
savage receives not only guidance from his anxious mother, but from the
chiefs and elders of his tribe. For a long time the aged were considered
the only suitable teachers, because the major part of knowledge was
still derived from personal experience; and, of course, the older the
person, the greater his experience, other things being equal, and they
were rather equal then. This primitive notion still holds among us.
People still assume superior wisdom because of superior age, putting
mere number of experiences against a more essential and better arranged
variety, and quite forgetting that the needed wisdom of to-day is not
the accumulation of facts, but the power to think about them to some

With our increased power to preserve and transmit individual experience
through literature, and to disseminate such information through
systematic education, we see younger and younger people, more rich in,
say, chemical or electrical experience than “the oldest inhabitant”
could have been in earlier times. Therefore, the teacher of to-day is
not the graybeard and beldame, but the man and woman most newly filled
with the gathered experience of the world. As this change from age to
youth has taken place in the teacher, it has also shown itself in the
taught. Grown men frequented the academic groves of Greece. Youths
filled the universities of the Middle Ages. Boys and, later, girls were
given the increasing school advantages of progressive centuries.

To-day the beautiful development of the kindergarten has brought
education to the nursery door. Even our purblind motherhood is beginning
to open that door; and we have at last entered upon the study of
babyhood, its needs and powers, and are seeing that education begins
with life itself. It is no new and daring heresy to suggest that babies
need better education than the individual mother now gives them. It is
simply a little further extension of the steadily expanding system of
human education which is coming upon us, as civilization grows. And it
no more infringes upon the mother’s rights, the mother’s duties, the
mother’s pleasures, than does the college or the school.

We think no harm of motherhood because our darlings go out each day to
spend long hours in school. The mother is not held neglectful, nor the
child bereft. It is not called a “separation of mother and child.” There
would be no further harm or risk or loss in a babyhood passed among such
changed surroundings and skilled service as should meet its needs more
perfectly than it is possible for the mother to meet them alone at home.

Better surroundings and care for babies, better education, do not mean,
as some mothers may imagine, that the tiny monthling is to be taught to
read, or even that it is to be exposed to cabalistical arrangements of
color and form and sound which shall mysteriously force the young
intelligence to flower. It would mean, mainly, a far quieter and more
peaceful life than is possible for the heavily loved and violently cared
for baby in the busy household; and the impressions which it did meet
would be planned and maintained with an intelligent appreciation of its
mental powers. The mother would not be excluded, but supplemented, as
she is now, by the teacher and the school.

Try and imagine for yourself, if you like, a new kind of coming
alive,—the mother breast and mother arms there, of course, fulfilling
the service which no other, however tender, could supervene; but there
would be other service also. The long, bright hours of the still
widening days would find one in sunny, soft-colored rooms, or among the
grass and flowers, or by the warm sand and waters. There would be about
one more of one’s self, others of the same size and age, in restful,
helpful companionship. A year means an enormous difference in the ages
of babies. Think what a passion little children have for playmates of
exactly their own age, because in them alone is perfect equality; and
then think that the home-kept baby never has such companionship, unless,
indeed, there are twins!

In this larger grouping, in full companionship, the child would
unconsciously absorb the knowledge that “we” were humanity, that “we”
were creatures to be so fed, so watched, so laid to sleep, so kissed and
cuddled and set free to roll and play. The mother-hours would be
sweetest of all, perhaps. Here would be something wholly one’s own, and
the better appreciated for the contrast. But the long, steady days would
bring their peaceful lessons of equality and common interest instead of
the feverish personality of the isolated one-baby household, or the
innumerable tyrannies and exactions, the forced submissions and
exclusions, of the nursery full of brothers and sisters of widely
differing ages and powers. Mothers accustomed to consider many babies
besides their own would begin, on the one hand, to learn something of
mere general babyness, and so understand that stage of life far better,
and, on the other, to outgrow the pathetic idolatry of the fabled
crow,—to recognize a difference in babies, and so to learn a new ideal
in their great work of motherhood.

This alone is reason good for a wider maternity. As long as each mother
dotes and gloats upon her own children, knowing no others, so long this
animal passion overestimates or underestimates real human qualities in
the child. So long as this endures, we must grow up with the false,
unbalanced opinion of ourselves forced upon us in our infancy. We may
think too well of ourselves or we may think too ill of ourselves; but we
think always too much of ourselves, because of this untrained and
unmodified concentration of maternal feeling. Our whole attitude toward
the child is too intensely personal. Through all our aching later life
we labor to outgrow the false perspective taught by primitive

A baby, brought up with other babies, would never have that labor or
that pain. However much his mother might love him, and he might enjoy
her love, he would still find that for most of the time he was treated
precisely like other people of the same age. Such a change would not
involve any greater loss to home and family life than does the school or
kindergarten. It would not rob the baby of his mother nor the mother of
her baby. And such a change would give the mother certain free hours as
a human being, as a member of a civilized community, as an economic
producer, as a growing, self-realizing individual. This freedom, growth,
and power will make her a wiser, stronger, and nobler mother.

After all is said of loving gratitude to our unfailing mother-nurse, we
must have a most exalted sense of our own personal importance so to
canonize the service of ourselves. The mother as a social servant
instead of a home servant will not lack in true mother duty. She will
love her child as well, perhaps better, when she is not in hourly
contact with it, when she goes from its life to her own life, and back
from her own life to its life, with ever new delight and power. She can
keep the deep, thrilling joy of motherhood far fresher in her heart, far
more vivid and open in voice and eyes and tender hands, when the hours
of individual work give her mind another channel for her own part of the
day. From her work, loved and honored though it is, she will return to
the home life, the child life, with an eager, ceaseless pleasure,
cleansed of all the fret and friction and weariness that so mar it now.

The child, also, will feel this beneficent effect. It is a mistake to
suppose that the baby, more than the older child, needs the direct care
and presence of the mother. Careful experiment has shown that a new-born
baby does not know its own mother, and that a new-made mother does not
know her own baby. They have been changed without the faintest
recognition on either side.

The services of a foster-mother, a nurse, a grandma, are often liked by
a baby as well as, and perhaps better than, those of its own mother. The
mere bodily care of a young infant is as well given by one wise, loving
hand as another. It is that trained hand that the baby needs, not mere
blood-relationship. While the mother keeps her beautiful prerogative of
nursing, she need never fear that any other will be dearer to the little
heart than she who is the blessed provider of his highest known good. A
healthy, happy, rightly occupied motherhood should be able to keep up
this function longer than is now customary,—to the child’s great gain.
Aside from this special relationship, however, the baby would grow
easily into the sense of other and wider relationship.

In the freedom and peace of his baby bedroom and baby parlor, in his
easy association with others of his own age, he would absorb a sense of
right human relation with his mother’s milk, as it were,—a sense of
others’ rights and of his own. Instead of finding life a place in which
all the fun was in being carried round and “done to” by others, and a
place also in which these others were a tyranny and a weariness
unutterable; he would find life a place in which to spread out,
unhindered, getting acquainted with his own unfolding powers of body and
mind in an atmosphere of physical warmth and ease and of quiet peace of

Direct, concentrated, unvarying personal love is too hot an atmosphere
for a young soul. Variations of loneliness, anger, and injustice, are
not changes to be desired. A steady, diffused love, lighted with wisdom,
based always on justice, and varied with rapturous draughts of our own
mother’s depth of devotion, would make us into a new people in a few
generations. The bent and reach of our whole lives are largely modified
by the surroundings of infancy; and those surroundings are capable of
betterment, though not to be attained by the individual mother in the
individual home.

There are three reasons why the individual mother can never be fit to
take all the care of her children. The first two are so commonly true as
to have much weight, the last so absolutely and finally true as to be
sufficient in itself alone.

First, not every woman is born with the special qualities and powers
needed to take right care of children: she has not the talent for it.
Second, not every woman can have the instruction and training needed to
fit her for the right care of children: she has not the education for
it. Third, while each woman takes all the care of her own children
herself, no woman can ever have the requisite experience for it. That is
the final bar. That is what keeps back our human motherhood. No mother
knows more than her mother knew: no mother has ever learned her
business; and our children pass under the well-meaning experiments of an
endless succession of amateurs.

We try to get “an experienced nurse.” We insist on “an experienced
physician.” But our idea of an experienced mother is simply one who has
borne many children, as if parturition was an educative process!

To experience the pangs of child-birth, or the further pangs of a baby’s
funeral, adds nothing whatever to the mother’s knowledge of the proper
care, clothing, feeding, and teaching of the child. The educative
department of maternity is not a personal function: it is in its very
nature a social function; and we fail grievously in its fulfilment.

The economically independent mother, widened and freed, strengthened and
developed, by her social service, will do better service as mother than
it has been possible to her before. No one thing could do more to
advance the interests of humanity than the wiser care and wider love of
organized human motherhood around our babies. This nobler mother,
bearing nobler children, and rearing them in nobler ways, would go far
toward making possible the world which we want to see. And this change
is coming upon us overpoweringly in spite of our foolish fears.


The changes in our conception and expression of home life, so rapidly
and steadily going on about us, involve many far-reaching effects, all
helpful to human advancement. Not the least of these is the improvement
in our machinery of social intercourse.

This necessity of civilization was unknown in those primitive ages when
family intercourse was sufficient for all, and when any further contact
between individuals meant war. Trade and its travel, the specialization
of labor and the distribution of its products, with their ensuing
development, have produced a wider, freer, and more frequent movement
and interchange among the innumerable individuals whose interaction
makes society. Only recently, and as yet but partially, have women as
individuals come to their share of this fluent social intercourse which
is the essential condition of civilization. It is not merely a pleasure
or an indulgence: it is the human necessity.

For women as individuals to meet men and other women as individuals,
with no regard whatever to the family relation, is a growing demand of
our time. As a social necessity, it is perforce being met in some
fashion; but its right development is greatly impeded by the clinging
folds of domestic and social customs derived from the sexuo-economic
relation. The demand for a wider and freer social intercourse between
the sexes rests, primarily, on the needs of their respective natures,
but is developed in modern life to a far subtler and higher range of
emotion than existed in the primitive state, where they had but one need
and but one way of meeting it; and this demand, too, calls for a better
arrangement of our machinery of living.

Always in social evolution, as in other evolution, the external form
suited to earlier needs is but slowly outgrown; and the period of
transition, while the new functions are fumbling through the old organs,
and slowly forcing mechanical expression for themselves, is necessarily
painful. So far in our development, acting on a deep-seated conviction
that the world consisted only of families and the necessary business
arrangements involved in providing for those families, we have
conscientiously striven to build and plan for family advantage, and
either unconsciously or grudgingly have been forced to make transient
provision for individuals. Whatever did not tend to promote family life,
and did tend to provide for the needs of individuals not at the time in
family relation, we have deprecated in principle, though reluctantly
forced to admit it in practice.

To this day articles are written, seriously and humorously, protesting
against the increasing luxury and comfort of bachelor apartments for
men, as well as against the pecuniary independence of women, on the
ground that these conditions militate against marriage and family life.
Most men, even now, pass through a period of perhaps ten years, when
they are individuals, business calling them away from their parental
family, and business not allowing them to start new families of their
own. Women, also, more and more each year, are entering upon a similar
period of individual life. And there is a certain permanent percentage
of individuals, “odd numbers” and “broken sets,” who fall short of
family life or who are left over from it; and these need to live.

The residence hotel, the boarding-house, club, lodging-house, and
restaurant are our present provision for this large and constantly
increasing class. It is not a travelling class. These are people who
want to live somewhere for years at a time, but who are not married or
otherwise provided with a family. Home life being in our minds
inextricably connected with married life, a home being held to imply a
family, and a family implying a head, these detached persons are unable
to achieve any home life, and are thereby subjected to the
inconvenience, deprivation, and expense, the often unhygienic, and
sometimes immoral influences, of our makeshift substitutes.

What the human race requires is permanent provision for the needs of
individuals, disconnected from the sex-relation. Our assumption that
only married people and their immediate relatives have any right to live
in comfort and health is erroneous. Every human being needs a
home,—bachelor, husband, or widower, girl, wife, or widow, young or old.
They need it from the cradle to the grave, and without regard to
sex-connections. We should so build and arrange for the shelter and
comfort of humanity as not to interfere with marriage, and yet not to
make that comfort dependent upon marriage. With the industries of home
life managed professionally, with rooms and suites of rooms and houses
obtainable by any person or persons desiring them, we could live singly
without losing home comfort and general companionship, we could meet
bereavement without being robbed of the common conveniences of living as
well as of the heart’s love, and we could marry in ease and freedom
without involving any change in the economic base of either party

Married people will always prefer a home together, and can have it; but
groups of women or groups of men can also have a home together if they
like, or contiguous rooms. And individuals even could have a house to
themselves, without having, also, the business of a home upon their

Take the kitchens out of the houses, and you leave rooms which are open
to any form of arrangement and extension; and the occupancy of them does
not mean “housekeeping.” In such living, personal character and taste
would flower as never before; the home of each individual would be at
last a true personal expression; and the union of individuals in
marriage would not compel the jumbling together of all the external
machinery of their lives,—a process in which much of the delicacy and
freshness of love, to say nothing of the power of mutual rest and
refreshment, is constantly lost. The sense of lifelong freedom and
self-respect and of the peace and permanence of one’s own home will do
much to purify and uplift the personal relations of life, and more to
strengthen and extend the social relations. The individual will learn to
feel himself an integral part of the social structure, in close, direct,
permanent connection with the needs and uses of society.

This is especially needed for women, who are generally considered, and
who consider themselves, mere fractions of families, and incapable of
any wholesome life of their own. The knowledge that peace and comfort
may be theirs for life, even if they do not marry,—and may be still
theirs for life, even if they do,—will develope a serenity and strength
in women most beneficial to them and to the world. It is a glaring proof
of the insufficient and irritating character of our existing form of
marriage that women must be forced to it by the need of food and
clothes, and men by the need of cooks and housekeepers. We are absurdly
afraid that, if men or women can meet these needs of life by other
means, they will cheerfully renounce the marriage relation. And yet we
sing adoringly of the power of love!

In reality, we may hope that the most valuable effect of this change in
the basis of living will be the cleansing of love and marriage from this
base admixture of pecuniary interest and creature comfort, and that men
and women, eternally drawn together by the deepest force in nature, will
be able at last to meet on a plane of pure and perfect love. We shame
our own ideals, our deepest instincts, our highest knowledge, by this
gross assumption that the noblest race on earth will not mate, or, at
least, not mate monogamously, unless bought and bribed through the
common animal necessities of food and shelter, and chained by law and

The depth and purity and permanence of the marriage relation rest on the
necessity for the prolonged care of children by both parents,—a law of
racial development which we can never escape. When parents are less
occupied in getting food and cooking it, in getting furniture and
dusting it, they may find time to give new thought and new effort to the
care of their children. The necessities of the child are far deeper than
for bread and bed: those are his mere racial needs, held in common with
all his kind. What he needs far more and receives far less is the
companionship, the association, the personal touch, of his father and
mother. When the common labors of life are removed from the home, we
shall have the time, and perhaps the inclination, to make the personal
acquaintance of our children. They will seem to us not so much creatures
to be waited on as people to be understood. As the civil and military
protection of society has long since superseded the tooth-and-claw
defence of the fierce parent, without in the least endangering the truth
and intensity of the family relation, so the economic provision of
society will in time supersede the bringing home of prey by the parent,
without evil effects to the love or prosperity of the family. These
primitive needs and primitive methods of meeting them are unquestionably
at the base of the family relation; but we have long passed them by, and
the ties between parent and child are not weakened, but strengthened, by
the change.

The more we grow away from these basic conditions, the more fully we
realize the deeper and higher forms of relation which are the strength
and the delight of human life. Full and permanent provision for
individual life and comfort will not cut off the forces that draw men
and women together or hold children to their parents; but it will purify
and intensify these relations to a degree which we can somewhat foretell
by observing the effect of such changes as are already accomplished in
this direction. And, in freeing the individual, old and young, from
enforced association on family lines, and allowing this emergence into
free association on social lines, we shall healthfully assist the
development of true social intercourse.

The present economic basis of family life holds our friendly and
familiar intercourse in narrow grooves. Such visiting and mingling as is
possible to us is between families rather than between individuals; and
the growing specialization of individuals renders it increasingly
unlikely that all the members of a given family shall please a given
visitor or he please them. This, on our present basis, either checks the
intercourse or painfully strains the family relation. The change of
economic relation in families from a sex-basis to a social basis will
make possible wide individual intercourse without this accompanying
strain on the family ties.

This outgoing impulse among members of families, their growing desire
for general and personal social intercourse, has been considered as a
mere thirst for amusement, and deprecated by the moralist. He has so far
maintained that the highest form of association was association with
one’s own family, and that a desire for a wider and more fluent
relationship was distinctly unworthy. “He is a good family man,” we say
admiringly of him who asks only for his newspaper and slippers in the
evening; and for the woman who dares admit that she wishes further
society than that of her husband we have but one name. With the
children, too, our constant effort is to “keep the boys at home,” to
“make home attractive,” so that our ancient ideal, the patriarchal
ideal, of a world of families and nothing else, may be maintained.

But this is a world of persons as well as of families. We are persons as
soon as we are born, though born into families. We are persons when we
step out of families, and persons still, even when we step into new
families of our own. As persons, we need more and more, in each
generation, to associate with other persons. It is most interesting to
watch this need making itself felt, and getting itself supplied, by fair
means or foul, through all these stupid centuries. In our besotted
exaggeration of the sex-relation, we have crudely supposed that a wish
for wider human relationship was a wish for wider sex-relationship, and
was therefore to be discouraged, as in Spain it was held unwise to teach
women to write, lest they become better able to communicate with their
lovers, and so shake the foundations of society.

But, when our sex-relation is made pure and orderly by the economic
independence of women, when sex-attraction is no longer a consuming
fever, forever convulsing the social surface, under all its bars and
chains, we shall not be content to sit down forever with half a dozen
blood relations for our whole social arena. We shall need each other
more, not less, and shall recognize that social need of one another as
the highest faculty of this the highest race on earth.

The force which draws friends together is a higher one than that which
draws the sexes together,—higher in the sense of belonging to a later
race-development. “Passing the love of women” is no unmeaning phrase.
Children need one another: young people need one another. Middle-aged
people need one another: old people need one another. We all need one
another, much and often. Just as every human creature needs a place to
be alone in, a sacred, private “home” of his own, so all human creatures
need a place to be together in, from the two who can show each other
their souls uninterruptedly, to the largest throng that can throb and
stir in unison.

Humanity means being together, and our unutterably outgrown way of
living keeps us apart. How many people, if they dare face the fact, have
often hopelessly longed for some better way of seeing their friends,
their own true friends, relatives by soul, if not by body!

Acting always under the heated misconceptions of our over-sexed minds,
we have pictured mankind as a race of beasts whose only desire to be
together was based on one great, overworked passion, and who were only
kept from universal orgies of promiscuity by being confined in homes.
This is not true. It is not true even now in our over-sexed condition.
It will be still less true when we are released from the artificial
pressure of the sexuo-economic relation and grow natural again.

Men, women, and children need freedom to mingle on a human basis; and
that means to mingle in their daily lives and occupations, not to go
laboriously to see each other, with no common purpose. We all know the
pleasant acquaintance and deep friendship that springs up when people
are thrown together naturally, at school, at college, on shipboard, in
the cars, in a camping trip, in business. The social need of one another
rests at bottom on a common, functional development; and the common,
functional service is its natural opportunity.

The reason why friendship means more to men than to women, and why they
associate so much more easily and freely, is that they are further
developed in race-functions, and that they _work together_. In the
natural association of common effort and common relaxation is the true
opening for human companionship. Just to put a number of human beings in
the same room, to relate their bodies as to cubic space, does not relate
their souls. Our present methods of association, especially for women,
are most unsatisfactory. They arise, and go to “call” on one another.
They solemnly “return” these calls. They prepare much food, and invite
many people to come and eat it; or some dance, music, or entertainment
is made the temporary ground of union. But these people do not really
meet one another. They pass whole lifetimes in going through the steps
of these elaborate games, and never become acquainted. There is a
constant thirst among us for fuller and truer social intercourse; but
our social machinery provides no means for quenching it.

Men have satisfied this desire in large measure; but between women, or
between men and women, it is yet far from accomplishment. Men meet one
another freely in their work, while women work alone. But the difference
is sharpest in their play. “Girls don’t have any fun!” say boys,
scornfully; and they don’t have very much. What they do have must come,
like their bread and butter, on lines of sex. Some man must give them
what amusement they have, as he must give them everything else. Men have
filled the world with games and sports, from the noble contests of the
Olympic plain to the brain and body training sports of to-day, good,
bad, and indifferent. Through all the ages the men have played; and the
women have looked on, when they were asked. Even the amusing occupation
of seeing other people do things was denied them, unless they were
invited by the real participants. The “queen of the ball-room” is but a
wall-flower, unless she is asked to dance by the real king.

Even to-day, when athletics are fast opening to women, when tennis and
golf and all the rest are possible to them, the two sexes are far from
even in chances to play. To want a good time is not the same thing as to
want the society of the other sex, and to make a girl’s desire for a
good time hang so largely on her power of sex-attraction is another of
the grievous strains we put upon that faculty. That people want to see
each other is construed by us to mean that “he” wants to see “her,” and
“she” wants to see “him.” The fun and pleasure of the world are so
interwound with the sex-dependence of women upon men that women are
forced to court “attentions,” when not really desirous of anything but
amusement; and, as we force the association of the sexes on this plane,
so we restrict it on a more wholesome one.

Even our little children in their play are carefully trained to
accentuate sex; and a line of conduct for boys, differing from that for
girls, is constantly insisted upon long before either would think of a
necessity for such difference. Girls and boys, as they associate, are so
commented on and teased as to destroy all wholesome friendliness, and
induce a premature sex-consciousness. Young men and women are allowed to
associate more or less freely, but always on a strictly sex-basis,
friendship between man and woman being a common laughing-stock. Every
healthy boy and girl resents this, and tries to hold free, natural
relation; but such social pressure is hard to resist. She may have as
many “beaux” as she can compass, he may “pay attention” to as many girls
as he pleases; but that is their only way to meet.

The general discontinuance of all friendly visiting, upon the engagement
of either party, proves the nature of the bond. Having chosen the girl
he is to marry, why care to call upon any others? having chosen the man
she is to marry, why receive attention from any others? these “calls”
and “attentions” being all in the nature of tentative preliminaries to
possible matrimony. And, after marriage, the wife is never supposed to
wish to see any other man than her husband, or the husband any other
woman than his wife. In some countries, we vary this arrangement by
increasing the social freedom of married people; but the custom is
accompanied by a commensurate lack of freedom before marriage, which
causes questionable results, both in married life and in social life. In
the higher classes of society there is always more freedom of social
intercourse between the sexes after marriage; but, speaking generally of
America, there is very little natural and serious acquaintance between
men and women after the period of pre-matrimonial visiting.

Even the friendship which may have existed between husband and wife
before marriage is often destroyed by that relation and its economic
complications. They have not time to talk about things as they used:
they are too near together, and too deeply involved in the industrial
and financial concern of their new business. This works steadily against
the development of higher and purer relations between men and women, and
tends to keep them forever to the one primitive bond of sex-union.

A young man goes to a city to live and work. He needs the society of
women as well as of men. Formerly he had his mother, his sisters, and
his sisters’ friends, his schoolmates. Now he must face our constrained
social conditions. He may visit two kinds of women,—those whom we call
“good,” and those whom we call “bad.” (This classification rests on but
one moral quality, and that a sexual one.) He naturally prefers the
good. The good are divided, again, into two kinds,—married and single.
If he visit a married woman frequently, it is remarked upon: it becomes
unpleasant, he does not do it. If he visit an unmarried woman
frequently, it is also remarked upon; and he is considered to have
“intentions.” His best alternative is to visit a number of unmarried
women, and distribute his attentions so cautiously that no one can claim
them as personal.

Here he enters on the first phase of our sexuo-economic relation: he
cannot even visit girls freely without paying for it. Simply to see the
girl by calling on her in the family circle is hardly what either wants
of the other. One does not meet half a dozen people of various ages and
of both sexes as one meets a friend alone. To seek to see her alone is
an “attention.” To “take her out” costs money, and he cheerfully pays
it. But he cannot do this too often, or he will become involved in what
is naturally considered a “serious” affair; and every step of the
acquaintance is watched and commented upon from a sexual point of view.

There is no natural, simple medium of social intercourse between men and
women. The young man can but learn that his popularity depends largely
on his pocket-book. The money that he might be saving for marriage is
wasted on these miscellaneous preliminaries. As he sees what women like
and how much it costs to please them, his hope of marriage recedes
farther and farther. The period during which he must live as an
individual grows longer; and he becomes accustomed to superficial
acquaintance with many women, on the shallowest side of life, with no
opportunity for genuine association and true friendship. What wonder
that the other kind of woman, who also costs money, it is true, but who
does not involve permanent obligation, has come to be so steady a factor
in our social life? The sexuo-economic relation promotes vice in more
ways than one.

The economic independence of woman will change all these conditions as
naturally and inevitably as her dependence has introduced them. In her
specialization in industry, she will develope more personality and less
sexuality; and this will lower the pressure on this one relation in both
women and men. And, in our social intercourse, the new character and new
method of living will allow of broad and beautiful developments in human
association. As the private home becomes a private home indeed, and no
longer the woman’s social and industrial horizon; as the workshops of
the world—woman’s sphere as well as man’s—become homelike and beautiful
under her influence; and as men and women move freely together in the
exercise of common racial functions,—we shall have new channels for the
flow of human life.

We shall not move from the isolated home to the sordid shop and back
again, in a world torn and dissevered by the selfish production of one
sex and the selfish consumption of the other; but we shall live in a
world of men and women humanly related, as well as sexually related,
working together, as they were meant to do, for the common good of all.
The home will be no longer an economic entity, with its cumbrous
industrial machinery huddled vulgarly behind it, but a peaceful and
permanent expression of personal life as withdrawn from social contact;
and that social contact will be provided for by the many common
meeting-places necessitated by the organization of domestic industries.

The assembling-room is as deep a need of human life as the
retiring-room,—not some ball-room or theatre, to which one must be
invited of set purpose, but great common libraries and parlors, baths
and gymnasia, work-rooms and play-rooms, to which both sexes have the
same access for the same needs, and where they may mingle freely in
common human expression. The kind of buildings essential to the carrying
out of the organization of home industry will provide such places. There
will be the separate rooms for individuals and the separate houses for
families; but there will be, also, the common rooms for all. These must
include a place for the children, planned and built for the happy
occupancy of many children for many years,—a home such as no children
have ever had. This, as well as rooms everywhere for young people and
old people, in which they can be together as naturally as they can be
alone, without effort, question, or remark.

Such an environment would allow of free association among us, on lines
of common interest; and, in its natural, easy flow, we should develope
far higher qualities than are brought out by the uneasy struggles of our
present “society” to see each other without wanting to. It would make an
enormous difference to woman’s power of choosing the right man. Cut off
from the purchasing power which is now his easiest way to compass his
desires, freely seen and known in his daily work and amusements, a woman
could know and judge a man as she is wholly unable to do now. Her
personality developed by a free and useful life, clear-headed and
open-eyed,—a woman still, but a personality as well as a woman,—the girl
trained to economic independence, and associating freely with young men
in their common work and play, would learn a new estimate of what
constitutes noble manhood.

The young man, no longer able to cover all his shortcomings with a
dress-coat, and to obtain absolution for every offence by the simple
penance of paying for it, unable really to do much that was wrong for
lack of the old opportunity and the old incentive, constantly helped and
inspired by the friendly presence of honest and earnest womanhood, would
have all the force of natural law to lift him up instead of pulling him
heavily downward, as it does now.

With the pressure of our over-developed sex-instinct lifted off the
world, born clean and strong, of noble-hearted, noble-minded,
noble-bodied mothers, trained in the large wisdom of the new motherhood,
and living freely in daily association with the best womanhood, a new
kind of man can and will grow on earth. What this will mean to the race
in power and peace and happiness no eye can foresee. But this much we
can see:—that our once useful sexuo-economic relation is being outgrown,
that it now produces many evil phenomena, and that its displacement by
the economic freedom of woman will of itself set free new forces, to
develope in us, by their natural working, the very virtues for which we
have striven and agonized so long.

This change is not a thing to prophesy and plead for. It is a change
already instituted, and gaining ground among us these many years with
marvellous rapidity. Neither men nor women wish the change. Neither men
nor women have sought it. But the same great force of social evolution
which brought us into the old relation—to our great sorrow and pain—is
bringing us out, with equal difficulty and distress. The time has come
when it is better for the world that women be economically independent,
and therefore they are becoming so.

It is worth while for us to consider the case fully and fairly, that we
may see what it is that is happening to us, and welcome with open arms
the happiest change in human condition that ever came into the world. To
free an entire half of humanity from an artificial position; to release
vast natural forces from a strained and clumsy combination, and set them
free to work smoothly and easily as they were intended to work; to
introduce conditions that will change humanity from within, making for
better motherhood and fatherhood, better babyhood and childhood, better
food, better homes, better society,—this is to work for human
improvement along natural lines. It means enormous racial advance, and
that with great swiftness; for this change does not wait to create new
forces, but sets free those already potentially strong, so that humanity
will fly up like a released spring. And it is already happening. All we
need do is to understand and help.


As we learn to see how close is the connection of that which we call the
soul with our external conditions, how the moral sense and the behavior
of man are modified by the environment, we must of course look for
marked results in psychic development arising from so important a
condition as our sexuo-economic relation.

The relation of the sexes, in whatever form, has always been observed to
affect strongly the moral nature of mankind; and this is one reason why
we have placed such disproportionate stress upon the special virtues of
that relation. The word “moral” in common use means “chaste”; and, in
the case of women, the word “virtue” itself simply implies the one
virtue of chastity. Large, popular conceptions are never baseless. They
are rooted in deep truths, felt rather than seen, and, however false and
silly in external interpretation, may be trusted in their general trend.
It is not that the virtue of chastity is so much more important to the
race than the virtue of honesty, the virtue of courage, the virtues of
cheerfulness, of courtesy, of kindness, but that upon the sex-relation
in which we live depends so much of the further development and
arrangement of our whole moral nature.

What we call the moral sense is an intellectual recognition of the
relative importance of certain acts and their consequences. This appears
vaguely and weakly among early savages, and was for long mainly applied
to a few clearly defined and arbitrary rites and ceremonies, set rules
in a game of priest-and-people. But the habit of associating a sense of
worthiness with certain acts by which came praise and profit grew in the
childish soul, and the range of moral deeds widened. It has been
widening ever since, growing deeper and higher and far more subtle,
developing with the other social qualities.

No human distinction is more absolutely and exclusively social than the
moral sense. Ethics is a social science. There is no ethics for the
individual. Taken by himself, man is but an animal; and his conduct
bears relation only to the needs of the animal,—self-preservation and
race-preservation. Every virtue, and the power to see and strive for it,
is a social quality. The highest virtues are those wherein we best serve
the most people, and their development in us keeps pace with the
development of society. It is the social relation which calls for our
virtues, and which maintains them.

A simple instance of this is in the prompt lapse to barbarism of a man
cut off from his kind, and forced to live in conditions of savagery.
Even a brief and partial change in condition changes conduct at once, as
is shown by the behavior of the most pious New Englanders when in mining
camps. It is shown, also, by the different scale of virtue in the
different classes and industries.

Every social relation has its ethics; and the general needs of society,
as a whole, are the basis of ethics. In every age and race this may be
studied, and a clear connection established always between the virtues
and vices of a given people and their local conditions. The principal
governing condition in the development of ethics is the economic
environment. This may seem strange to one accustomed to consider moral
laws as not of this world, and to see how often virtue costs its
possessor dear. The relative behavior of a given number of people
depends, first, upon the existence of those people. Such conduct as
should tend to exterminate them would exterminate their ethics. Such
conduct as should tend to preserve and increase them is the only conduct
of which ethical value can be predicated. Ethics is, therefore,
absolutely conditioned upon life and the maintenance thereof. From the
lowest and narrowest view which calls an act right or wrong, according
to its immediate effects upon one’s present life, to the clear vision of
ultimate results which calls a course of conduct right or wrong,
according to its final effects upon one’s eternal life, our ethics,
small and great, is the science of human conduct measured by its

It is inevitable, then, that in all races we should find those acts
whereby men live considered right, and should see a high degree of
approval awarded to him who best performs them. In the hunting and
fighting period the best hunter and fighter was the best man, praised
and honored by his tribe. The virtues cultivated were such as enabled
the possessor to hunt and kill most successfully, to maintain himself
and be a credit and a help to his friends. Savage virtues are the simple
reflection of savage conditions. To be patient and self-controlled was
an economic necessity to the hunter: to bear pain and arduous exertion
easily was a necessity to the fighter. Therefore, the savage, by precept
and example, cultivated these virtues.

In the long agricultural and military periods we see the same thing. In
the peasant the virtues of industry and patience were extolled: it takes
industry and patience to raise corn. In the soldier the virtues of
courage and obedience were extolled, and in every one the virtue of
faith was the prime requisite of the existing religion. It took a great
deal of faith to accept the religions of those times. The importance of
faith as a virtue declines as religion grows more intelligible and
applicable to life. It requires no effort to believe what you can
understand and do. Slowly the industrial era dawned and grew, from the
weak, sporadic efforts of the cringing packman and craftsman, the common
prey of the dominant fighting class, to our colossal industrial
organization, in which the soldier is ruthlessly exploited to some
financial interests. With this change in economic conditions has changed
the scale of virtues.

Physical courage has sunk: obedience, patience, faith, and the rest do
not stand as they did. We praise and value to-day, as always, the
virtues whereby we live. Every animal developes the virtues of his
conditions: our human distinction is that we add the power of conscious
perception and personal volition to the action of natural force. Not
only in our own race, but in others, do we call “good” and “bad” those
qualities which profit us; and the beasts that we train and use
develope, of necessity, the qualities that profit them,—as, for
instance, in our well-known friend, the dog.

The dog is an animal long since cut off from his natural means of
support, and depending absolutely on man for food. As a free, wild dog,
he was profited by a daring initiative, courage, ferocity. As a tame,
slave dog, he is profited by abject submission, by a crawling
will-lessness that grovels at a blow, and licks the foot that kicks it.
We have quite made over the original dog; and his moral nature, his
spirit, shows the change even more than his body. The force which has
accomplished this is economic,—a change of base in the source of
supplies and the processes of obtaining them.

Let us briefly examine the distinctive virtues of humanity, their order
of introduction and development, and see how this one peculiar relation
has affected them.

The main distinction of human virtue is in what we roughly describe as
altruism,—“otherness.” To love and serve one another, to care for one
another, to feel for and with one another,—our racial adjective,
“humane,” implies these qualities. The very existence of humanity
implies these qualities in some degree, and the development of humanity
is commensurate with their development.

Our one great blunder in studying these things lies in our failure to
appreciate the organic necessity of such moral qualities in human life.
We have assumed that the practice of these social virtues involved a
personal effort and sacrifice, and that there is an irreconcilable
contest between the cosmic process of development and the ethical
process, as Huxley puts it. Social evolution brings with it the
essential qualities of social relation, and these are our much boasted
virtues. The natural processes of human intercourse and interrelation
develope the qualities without which such intercourse would be
impossible; and this development is as orderly, as natural, as “cosmic,”
as the processes of organic activity within the individual body. It is
as natural for an industrial society to live in peace as for a hunting
society to live in war; and this peace is not the result of heroic and
self-sacrificing effort on the part of the industrial society; it is the
necessity of their condition.

The course of evolution in human ethics is marked by a gradual extension
of our perception of common good and evil as distinct from our initial
perception of individual good and evil. This becomes very keen in the
more socialized natures among us, as in the far-seeing devotion of
statesmanship, patriotism, and philanthropy. Each of these words shows
in its construction that the quality described is social,—the statesman,
one who thinks and works for the State; the patriot, one who loves and
labors for his country; the philanthropist, one who loves mankind. All
these qualities, in their extreme and in their first beginnings, are a
mere recognition of the equal right of the next man, common “fair play”
and courtesy; they are but the natural product of social conditions
acting on the individual through primal laws of economic necessity. The
individual, in the absolute economic isolation of the beast, is profited
by pure egoism, and he developes it. The individual, in the increasing
economic interdependence of social relation, is profited by altruism;
and he developes it.

All our virtues can be so traced and accounted for. The great main stem
of them all, what we call “love,” is merely the first condition of
social existence. It is cohesion, working among us as the constituent
particles of society. Without some attraction to hold us together, we
should not be able to hold together; and this attraction, as perceived
by our consciousness, we call love. The virtue of obedience consists in
the surrender of the individual will, so often necessary to the common
good; and it stands highest in military organization, wherein great
numbers of men must act together against their personal interests, even
to the sacrifice of life, in the service of the community.

As we have grown into fuller social life, we have slowly and
experimentally, painfully and expensively, discovered what kind of man
was the best social factor. The type of a satisfactory member of society
to-day is a man self-controlled, kind, gentle, strong, wise, brave,
courteous, cheerful, true. In the Middle Ages, strong, brave, and true
would have satisfied the demands of the time. We now require for our
common good a larger range of qualities, a more elaborate moral
organization. All this is a simple, evolutionary process of social life,
and should have involved no more confusion, effort, and pain than any
other natural process.

But the moral development of humanity is a most tempestuous and
contradictory field of study. Some virtues we have developed in orderly
fashion, hardly recognizing that they were virtues, because they came so
easily into use. Accuracy and punctuality are qualities which were
unknown to the savage, because they were not needed in his business.
They have been developed in us, because they were required, and so have
been gradually assumed under pressure of economic necessity. Obedience,
even in its extreme form of self-sacrifice, has been produced in the
soldier; and no quality is more altruistic, more unnatural, or more
difficult of adoption by the sturdy individual will. The common,
law-abiding citizen does not consider himself a hero; yet he is
manifesting a high degree of social virtue, often at great personal

But in other virtues we have not progressed so smoothly. In the ordinary
economic relations of life, and in our sex-relations, we are
distinguished by peculiar and injurious qualities. Our condition may be
described as consisting of a tenacious survival of qualities which we
ought, on every ground of social good, to have long since outgrown; and
an incessant struggle between these rudimentary survivals and the normal
growth. This it is which has so forcibly assailed our consciousness
since its awakening, and which we call the contest between good and
evil. We have felt within ourselves the pull of diverse tendencies,—the
impulse to do what was immediately good for ourselves, but which our
growing social sense knew was bad for the community, and therefore
wrong; and the impulse to do what might be immediately bad for
ourselves, but which the same social sense knew was good for the
community, and therefore right. This we felt, and cast about in our
minds for an explanation of the way we behaved: we knew it was peculiar.
The human brain is an organ that must have an explanation, if it has to
make one. We made one.

The belated impulses of the individual beast—good in him because he
needed them, bad in us because we were becoming human and had other
needs—we lumped together, and, with our facile, dramatic, personifying
tendency, called them “the devil.” And, as these evil promptings were
usually along the lines of physical impulse, we considered our own
bodies, and nature in general, as part and parcel of the wrong,—“the
world, the flesh, and the devil.” We felt, also, within us the mighty
stirrings of new powers and strange tendencies, that led us out of
ourselves and toward each other, new loves and hopes and wishes, new
desires to give instead of to take, to serve instead of to fight; and,
realizing, with true social instinct, that this impulse tended to help
us most, was really good for us, we called it the will of God, the voice
of God, the way to God. The tearing contest between these ill-adjusted
impulses and tendencies, with our growing power of self-conscious
decision and voluntary adoption of one or another course of action,—this
process in psychic evolution has given us the greatest world-drama ever
conceived, the struggle between good and evil.

And, fumbling vaguely at the sources of our pain so far as we could
trace them, judging always by persons, and not by conditions,—as a child
strikes the chair he bumps his head upon,—race after race has located
the cause of the trouble in woman. Not that she primarily invented all
the evil, and brought it upon us,—our vague devil was the remoter
cause,—but that woman let the trouble in. Pandora did not make the
mischief-box; but she perversely opened it, even against the wise man’s
advice. Eve did not plant that apple-tree; but she ate of it, and
tempted the superior man. It seems a childish and clumsy guess, but
there is something in it. Nothing of the unspeakable blame and shame
with which man has blackened the face of his mother through all these
centuries, but a sociological truth for all that.

Not woman, but the condition of woman, has always been a doorway of
evil. The sexuo-economic relation has debarred her from the social
activities in which, and in which alone, are developed the social
virtues. She was not allowed to acquire the qualities needed in our
racial advance; and, in her position of arrested development, she has
maintained the virtues and the vices of the period of human evolution at
which she was imprisoned. At a period of isolated economic
activity,—mere animal individualism,—at a period when social ties ceased
with the ties of blood, woman was cut off from personal activity in
social economics, and confined to the functional activities of her sex.

In keeping her on this primitive basis of economic life, we have kept
half humanity tied to the starting-post, while the other half ran. We
have trained and bred one kind of qualities into one-half the species,
and another kind into the other half. And then we wonder at the
contradictions of human nature! For instance, we have done all we could,
in addition to natural forces, to make men brave. We have done all we
could, in addition to natural forces, to make women cowards. And, since
every human creature is born of two parents, it is not surprising that
we are a little mixed.

We have trained in men the large qualities of social usefulness which
the pressure of their economic conditions was also developing; and we
have done this by means of conscious praise and blame, reward and
punishment, and with the aid of law and custom. We have trained in
women, by the same means, the small qualities of personal usefulness
which the pressure of their economic conditions was also developing. We
have made a creature who is not homogeneous, whose life is fed by two
currents of inheritance as dissimilar and opposed as could be well
imagined. We have bred a race of psychic hybrids, and the moral
qualities of hybrids are well known.

Away back in that early beginning, by dividing the economic conditions
of women and men, we have divided their psychic development, and built
into the constitution of the race the irreconcilable elements of these
diverse characters. The incongruous behavior of this cross-bred product
is the riddle of human life. We ourselves, by maintaining this
artificial diversity between the sexes, have constantly kept before us
the enigma which we found so hard to solve, and have preserved in our
own characters the confusion and contradiction which is our greatest
difficulty in life.

The largest and most radical effect of restoring women to economic
independence will be in its result in clarifying and harmonizing the
human soul. With a homogeneous nature bred of two parents in the same
degree of social development, we shall be able to feel simply, to see
clearly, to agree with ourselves, to be one person and master of our own
lives, instead of wrestling in such hopeless perplexity with what we
have called “man’s dual nature.” Marry a civilized man to a primitive
savage, and their child will naturally have a dual nature. Marry an
Anglo-Saxon to an African or Oriental, and their child has a dual
nature. Marry any man of a highly developed nation, full of the
specialized activities of his race and their accompanying moral
qualities, to the carefully preserved, rudimentary female creature he
has so religiously maintained by his side, and you have as result what
we all know so well,—the human soul in its pitiful, well-meaning
efforts, its cross-eyed, purblind errors, its baby fits of passion, and
its beautiful and ceaseless upward impulse through all this wavering.

We are quite familiar with this result, but we have not so far
accurately located the cause. We have had our glimmering perception that
woman had something to do with it; and she has been treated accordingly,
by many simple races, to her further injury, and to that of the whole
people. What we need to see is that it is not woman as a sex who is
responsible for this mis-mothered world, but the economic position of
woman which makes her what she is. If men were so placed, it would have
the same effect. Not the sex-relation, but the economic relation of the
sexes, has so tangled the skein of human life.

Besides the essential evils of an unbalanced nature, many harmful
qualities have been developed in human characters by these conditions.
For countless centuries we have sought to develope, by selection and
education, a timid submission in woman. When there did appear “a curst
shrew,” she was left unmarried; and her temper perished with her, or she
was “tamed” by some Petruchio. The dependence of women on the personal
favor of men has produced an exceeding cleverness in the adaptation of
the dependent one to the source of her supplies. Under the necessity of
pleasing, whether she wished or no, of interceding for a child’s pardon
or of suing for new pleasures for herself, “the vices of the slave” have
been forever maintained in this housemaid of the world.

Another discord introduced by the condition of servitude is that between
will and action. A servant places his time and strength at the disposal
of another will. He must hold himself in readiness to do what he is
told; and the mere physical law of conservation of energy, to say
nothing of his own conscious judgment, forbids wasting nerve-force in
planning and undertaking what he may not be able to accomplish. This
produces a condition of inactivity, save under compulsion, and, on the
other side, a perverse, capricious wilfulness in little things,—the
reaction from a forced submission.

A more insidious, disintegrating force to offset the evolution of human
character could hardly be imagined than this steady training of the
habits of servitude into half the human race,—the mother of all of it.
These results have been modified, of course, by the different education
and environment of men, developing in them opposite qualities, and
transmitting the contradictory traits to the children indiscriminately.

Heredity has no Salic law. The boy inherits from his mother, as well as
from his father; the girl from her father, as well as from her mother.
This has prevented the full evil of the results that plight have ensued,
but has also added to the personal difficulties of each of us, and
retarded the general progress of the race.

Worse than the check set upon the physical activities of women has been
the restriction of their power to think and judge for themselves. The
extended use of the human will and its decisions is conditioned upon
free, voluntary action. In her rudimentary position, woman was denied
the physical freedom which underlies all knowledge, she was denied the
mental freedom which is the path to further wisdom, she was denied the
moral freedom of being mistress of her own action and of learning by the
merciful law of consequences what was right and what was wrong; and she
has remained, perforce, undeveloped in the larger judgment of ethics.

Her moral sense is large enough, morbidly large, because in this
tutelage she is always being praised or blamed for her conduct. She
lives in a forcing-bed of sensitiveness to moral distinctions, but the
broad judgment that alone can guide and govern this sensitiveness she
has not. Her contribution to moral progress has added to the anguish of
the world the fierce sense of sin and shame, the desperate desire to do
right, the fear of wrong; without giving it the essential help of a
practical wisdom and a regulated will. Inheriting with each generation
the accumulating forces of our social nature, set back in each
generation by the conditions of the primitive human female, women have
become vividly self-conscious centres of moral impulse, but poor guides
as to the conduct which alone can make that impulse useful and build the
habit of morality into the constitution of the race.

Recognizing her intense feeling on moral lines, and seeing in her
the rigidly preserved virtues of faith, submission, and
self-sacrifice,—qualities which in the Dark Ages were held to be the
first of virtues,—we have agreed of late years to call woman the
moral superior of man. But the ceaseless growth of human life,
social life, has developed in him new virtues, later, higher, more
needful; and the moral nature of woman, as maintained in this
rudimentary stage by her economic dependence, is a continual check
to the progress of the human soul. The main feature of her life—the
restriction of her range of duty to the love and service of her own
immediate family—acts upon us continually as a retarding influence,
hindering the expansion of the spirit of social love and service on
which our very lives depend. It keeps the moral standard of the
patriarchal era still before us, and blinds our eyes to the full
duty of man.

An intense self-consciousness, born of the ceaseless contact of close
personal relation; an inordinate self-interest, bred by the constant
personal attention and service of this relation; a feverish, torturing,
moral sensitiveness, without the width and clarity of vision of a
full-grown moral sense; a thwarted will, used to meek surrender, cunning
evasion, or futile rebellion; a childish, wavering, short-range
judgment, handicapped by emotion; a measureless devotion to one’s own
sex relatives, and a maternal passion swollen with the full strength of
the great social heart, but denied social expression,—such psychic
qualities as these, born in us all, are the inevitable result of the
sexuo-economic relation.

It is not alone upon woman, and, through her, upon the race, that the
ill-effects may be observed. Man, as master, has suffered from his
position also. The lust for power and conquest, natural to the male of
any species, has been fostered in him to an enormous degree by this
cheap and easy lordship. His dominance is not that of one chosen as best
fitted to rule or of one ruling by successful competition with “foemen
worthy of his steel”; but it is a sovereignty based on the accident of
sex, and holding over such helpless and inferior dependants as could not
question or oppose. The easy superiority that needs no striving to
maintain it; the temptation to cruelty always begotten by irresponsible
power; the pride and self-will which surely accompany it,—these
qualities have been bred into the souls of men by their side of the
relation. When man’s place was maintained by brute force, it made him
more brutal: when his place was maintained by purchase, by the power of
economic necessity, then he grew into the merciless use of such power as
distinguishes him to-day.

Another giant evil engendered by this relation is what we call
selfishness. Social life tends to reduce this feeling, which is but a
belated individualism; but the sexuo-economic relation fosters and
developes it. To have a whole human creature consecrated to his direct
personal service, to pleasing and satisfying him in every way
possible,—this has kept man selfish beyond the degree incidental to our
stage of social growth. Even in our artificial society life men are more
forbearing and considerate, more polite and kind, than they are at home.
Pride, cruelty, and selfishness are the vices of the master; and these
have been kept strong in the bosom of the family through the false
position of woman. And every human soul is born, an impressionable
child, into the close presence of these conditions. Our men must live in
the ethics of a civilized, free, industrial, democratic age; but they
are born and trained in the moral atmosphere of a primitive
patriarchate. No wonder that we are all somewhat slow to rise to the
full powers and privileges of democracy, to feel full social honor and
social duty, while every soul of us is reared in this stronghold of
ancient and outgrown emotions,—the economically related family.

So we may trace from the sexuo-economic relation of our species not only
definite evils in psychic development, bred severally in men and women,
and transmitted indifferently to their offspring, but the innate
perversion of character resultant from the moral miscegenation of two so
diverse souls,—the unfailing shadow and distortion which has darkened
and twisted the spirit of man from its beginnings. We have been injured
in body and in mind by the too dissimilar traits inherited from our
widely separated parents, but nowhere is the injury more apparent than
in its ill effects upon the moral nature of the race.

Yet here, as in the other evil results of the sexuo-economic relation,
we can see the accompanying good that made the condition necessary in
its time; and we can follow the beautiful results of our present changes
with comforting assurance. A healthy, normal moral sense will be ours,
freed from its exaggerations and contradictions; and, with that clear
perception, we shall no longer conceive of the ethical process as
something outside of and against nature, but as the most natural thing
in the world.

Where now we strive and agonize after impossible virtues, we shall then
grow naturally and easily into those very qualities; and we shall not
even think of them as especially commendable. Where our progress
hitherto has been warped and hindered by the retarding influence of
surviving rudimentary forces, it will flow on smoothly and rapidly when
both men and women stand equal in economic relation. When the mother of
the race is free, we shall have a better world, by the easy right of
birth and by the calm, slow, friendly forces of social evolution.


 Academic groves of Greece, 285.

 Accident of sex, man’s sovereignty due to, 337.

 Accompaniment to social life, home life only an, 282.

 Action of heredity, 70.

 —— in servitude, discord of will and, 333.

 Activity in obstetrics, masculine, 197.

 Advance, motherhood and racial, 189.

 Advantage of professional cleaners, 255.

 —— of family alone planned for, 296.

 Advantages of home cooking, 249.

 Africa, Darkest, 180.

 African, hybrid progeny of Anglo-Saxon and, 332.

 Age, the Augustan, 161.

 —— Elizabethan, 161.

 —— Periclean, 161.

 Aggregate privacy of the family, 258.

 Agony of Armenia, 162.

 Allen, Grant, quotation from, 172.

 Altruism, the main distinction of human virtue, 323.

 —— the socialized individual profited by, 325.

 —— of obedience, 327.

 Amateur, the mother always an, 293.

 America, 162.

 —— the Englishman in, 79.

 —— the human soul in, 148.

 American, the, in England, 79.


 Amusement, woman’s, gained through sex-attraction, 308.

 Anglo-Saxon blood, 147.

 —— hybrid progeny of, and African, 332.

 —— hybrid progeny of, and Oriental, 332.

 Anthony, Susan B., 167.

 Apartments, bachelor _vs._ marriage, 297.

 Apple-tree, Eve and the, 329.

 Arabellas of the last century, 148.

 Armenia, the agony of, 162.

 Arrested development of woman, result of, 330.

 Art and science of cooking, 230.

 Association, present methods of, unsatisfactory for women, 307.

 —— value of, of the sexes, 314.

 Associations of home, 221.

 Attitude of women to marriage, 86.

 Attraction, love a necessary, 325.

 Augustan age, 161.

 Baby, the first impressions of a, 281.

 Baby-culture, wrong training of mothers for, 270.

 Baby-education, the meaning of better, 287.

 Baby-educator, the mother a bad, 284.

 Babyhood, the ideal, 288.

 Babylon, the girls of, 97.

 Bachelor apartments _vs._ marriage, 297.

 Balance of power in living organisms, 59.

 Barton, Clara, 165.

 Basis, change of, in family relations, 271.

 —— the economic, of present family life, 303.

 —— mingling on a human, 306.

 Bela, the temple of, 97.

 Benefits, of our sexuo-economic relation, 136.

 —— of home life, 260.

 Betterment, surroundings of infancy capable of, 292.

 Bible, instructions of, 28.

 Birth of free France, 137.

 —— of historic crises, 146.

 Blackwell, Dr. Elizabeth, 167.

 Boston, 80.

 —— Tea Party, 146.

 Brain action, two laws of, 76.

 Bridge’s Food for infants, 196.

 Britons, surprise of, over Boston Tea Party, 146.

 Brought up at home, children that are, 282.

 Burden, economic, of children, 169.

 Business partners, husband and wife not, 12.

 Byron, quotation from “Childe Harold,” 24.

 Camp, conduct of New Englanders in a mining, 320.

 Captives, stripping of the Persian, 73.

 Care of children, to marriage, value of, 301.

 Cause of our exaggerated sex-development, 58.

 —— of insanity, loneliness often a, 267.

 Causes of the decline of home life,

 Centre of moral influence, woman a self-conscious, 336.

 Change of the sexuo-economic relation, 122.

 —— of basis in the family relation, 271.

 —— in condition means one in conduct, 320.

 Changes, family ties strengthened by economic, 302.

 Changing scale of virtues, 322.

 Chastity demanded by society, 95.

 —— the importance of, 318.

 Chattel slavery, Christ blind to, 78.

 —— a social institution, 78.

 —— results of, 82.

 —— opponents of, 137.

 Check to race-development, reduced environment a, 65.

 —— to excessive sex-development, death a ready, 72.

 —— to social progress, home duties a, 156.

 Child, old and new needs of the, 271.

 —— wrong relation between parent and, 272.

 —— effect of servant-motherhood on, 280.

 —— fuller companionship for, 287.

 —— a broader relationship for, 291.

 —— necessities of, 301.

 “Childe Harold,” quotation from, 24.

 Child-bearing, women economically profited by, 169.

 Child-education, development of, 283.

 Child-feeding, instinct in, 196.

 Children, precocity of sex-development in, 54–56.

 —— economic burden of, 169.

 —— brought up at home, 282.

 —— how to know one’s, 301.

 —— value to marriage of care of, 301.

 —— trained to sex, 309.

 China, family worship in, 223.

 Chinaman, sex-prejudice of the, 69.

 Choice of a young man, the wide, 71.

 —— of a young woman, the single, 71.

 —— of a father, 202.

 —— of professions, woman’s limited, 246.

 Christ blind to chattel slavery, 78.

 Christianity, injustice of, to the Jew, 78.

 Church, the convent and the, 165.

 Cities, the larger social interests of, 267.

 City, the young man in the, 311.

 Civilization, effect of the growth of, 63.

 —— a perfect, 73.

 —— our race-distinction, 74.

 —— a decadent, 158.

 Classification, power of, 81.

 Cleaners, advantage of professional, 255.

 Club movement, woman’s, 164–166.

 Collectivity _vs._ marriage, 115.

 Comfort in the home, treason to society the price of, 278.

 —— for women, peace and, 300.

 Command to woman, Paul’s, 68.

 Commander, the Greek, and his Persian captives, 72.

 Common table, a common tie, 252.

 Community of interest _vs._ sex-relation, 114.

 Companionship of love, 219.

 —— fuller, for the child, 287.

 Competition, early individual, 100.

 Complex society, life of a, 102.

 Condition, change in, means a change in conduct, 320.

 —— of woman, the doorway of evil, 329.

 Conduct, instinct not always a true guide to, 209.

 —— change in condition means change in, 320.

 —— and ethics, 320.

 Consumers, women non-productive, 118.

 Contribution to moral progress, woman’s one-sided, 335.

 Convent, the church and the, 165.

 Cookery, evils of fancy, 232.

 Cooking, woman’s practice of, 229.

 —— art and science of, 230.

 —— as a profession, 239.

 —— of servants, 239.

 —— a social function, 240.

 —— professional service in, 241.

 —— retarded as a race-function, 241.

 —— advantages of home, 249.

 —— science and emotion of, 251.

 —— results of the future development of, 254.

 Co-operation, failure of family, 240.

 Corset, first effect of, 77.

 Corsicans, _vendetta_ of, 275.

 Cost of pleasing women, 312.

 Crises, birth of historic, 146.

 Cross-bred product of our human marriage, 332.

 Custom, liking and, in food, 250.

 Dane, 147.

 Daniel, proclamation of, 71.

 Darkest Africa, 180.

 Dead-line of religious development, 68.

 Death, gates of, in child-birth, 181.

 Decadence of sex, 158.

 Decadent civilization, 158.

 Decline of the family, 215.

 —— of home life, causes of, 266.

 Decoration, household, an expression of woman’s economic dependence,

 Defence and feeding of woman, 61.

 Deficiencies of human motherhood, 172.

 Definition of human progress, 208.

 Delicacy, feminine, an expression of sexuality, 46.

 Demand, increasing, for a true marriage, 218.

 —— for a freer social intercourse between the sexes, 296.

 Democracy, the Federal, 148.

 Dependence, economic, of rich women, 170.

 —— household decoration an expression of women’s, 257.

 Desdemona, 66.

 Desire for work, woman’s, 157.

 Development, dead-line of religious, 68.

 —— of the martyr, 80.

 —— of humanity, 134.

 —— of woman, 168.

 —— of marriage retarded by the family, 218.

 —— outside the home, the highest, 222.

 —— of cooking, results of the future, 254.

 —— home ties detrimental to personal, 259.

 —— of the home of the individual, 264.

 —— of child-education, 283.

 —— of education, 284.

 —— of the kindergarten, result of, 286.

 —— of true social intercourse, how to assist, 302.

 —— moral, of humanity, 326.

 —— arrested, result of, in woman, 330.

 —— of submission in woman, 333.

 “Devil,” our evil impulses called the, 328.

 —— the world, the flesh, and the, 328.

 Devotion, a sex-distinction, 48.

 —— the height of filial, 176.

 —— dining-room, 232–234.

 —— the _vendetta_ an over-development of family, 275.

 Disadvantage of maternity, 71.

 Discord of will and action in servitude, 333.

 Disease a life horror, 25.

 Distinction, human, in virtue, 322.

 —— altruism the main, in human virtue, 323.

 Divinity, parental, 175.

 Division of labor in housekeeping, 245.

 Dog, the economically changed, 323.

 Doorway of evil, condition of woman the, 329.

 Domination of sex, 53.

 “Don’t” (advice of _Punch_), 28.

 Dual nature, man’s, 332.

 Duchess of Towers, 148.

 Duty of the mother, 187.

 —— progress the, of human life, 207.

 —— a social sense, 276.

 —— restricted sense of, in the mother, 277.

 Duties, home, as feminine functions, 225.

 —— womanliness of, 225.

 Eating, bad effects of social, 254.

 Economic ability of woman, lack of development of, 9.

 Economic basis, the present, of family life, 303.

 Economic changes, family ties strengthened by, 302.

 Economic conditions, effect of upon the human creature, 3.

 —— results of special, 5.

 Economic dependence, change in, in the human species, 6.

 —— of female, changes made by, 37.

 —— of woman, increase of, 93.

 —— of woman, ending, 138.

 —— of rich women, 170.

 —— household decoration an expression of woman’s, 257.

 Economic functions become sex-functions, 110.

 Economic entity, home no longer an, 303.

 Economic foods, consumption of, 11.

 Economic independence, a relative condition, 10.

 —— meaning of, 11.

 —— of woman, result of, 304, 331.

 —— women attaining, 316.

 Economic paralysis, 8.

 Economic production, maternity and, 17.

 —— natural expression of human energy, 116.

 Economic profit of woman through sex-attraction, 63.

 Economic progress of the race, 8.

 Economic relation, a sex-relation, 5.

 —— a factor in the evolution of species, 23.

 —— a field of human difficulty, 25.

 —— good results of sex-equality in, 340.

 Economic separation of married lovers, 219.

 Economic status, of man, 7.

 —— of a race, 8.

 —— governed by male, 9.

 —— general, of woman, 10.

 —— not related to domestic labor, in women, 15.

 Economic value of household labor, 13.

 Economics, present problem in, 99.

 Education, the process of reproduction and, 179.

 —— a human function, 180.

 —— motherhood in, 185.

 —— of the young, 188.

 —— a social function, 283.

 —— development of, 284.

 —— growth of systematic, 285.

 —— motherhood supplemented by, 287.

 Educative motherhood, 183.

 —— maternity a social function, 293.

 Effect of a constant impression on a nerve, 77.

 —— first, of corset, 77.

 —— of standard of good food, 250.

 —— bad, of social eating, 254.

 —— of servant-motherhood on the child, 280.

 —— of changed relations of the sexes, 317.

 Egotism, isolated individual profited by, 325.

 Elizabethan age, 161.

 Elbe, Little, 87.

 Emerson, Ralph Waldo, 162.

 Emotion attached to cooking, science and, 251.

 Energy, maternal, 126.

 England, the American in, 79.

 English mixture, an expression of fresh racial life, 147.

 Englishman in America, 79.

 Enjoyment of a thing does not prove it is right, 209.

 Enslaving, first, of woman, 60.

 —— results of, of woman, 61.

 Entity, home no longer an economic, 313.

 Environment, result of a uniform, 64.

 Estimate, new woman’s, of true manhood, 315.

 Ethics, a social science, 319.

 Ethics, conduct and, 320.

 —— evolution in, 324.

 Eve and the apple-tree, 329.

 Evelinas of the last century, 148.

 Evil, present, and future good, 206.

 —— perception of good and, 324.

 —— struggle between good and, 329.

 —— condition of woman, the doorway of, 329.

 —— impulses, our, called the “devil,” 328.

 —— results of the sexuo-economic relation, 339.

 Evils of fancy cookery, 232.

 Evolution, social, 102, 103.

 —— of sexual equality, 131.

 —— in ethics, 324.

 Examples of loyalty, modern, 276.

 Existence, loyalty the first principle of social, 274.

 Experienced mother, our idea of the, 293.

 Experiments in males, Nature’s, 130.

 Expression of woman’s economic dependence, household decoration an,

 Extension of social relation, 123.

 —— of functions in woman, 160.

 —— of the family, the tribe an, 215.

 Factor, what kind of man is the best social, 326.

 Failure of family co-operation, 240.

 Faith in religion, virtue of, 322.

 False perspective, taught by primitive motherhood, 289.

 Familiarity by use, 79.

 Family, history of the, 213.

 —— marriage and the, 213.

 —— patriarchal government in the, 214.

 —— decline of the, 215.

 —— marriage _vs._ the, 215.

 —— the pastoral unit, 215.

 —— the tribe an extension of the, 215.

 —— in Utah, 216.

 —— as a social unit, 217.

 —— development of marriage retarded by the, 218.

 —— worship of the, in China, 223.

 —— ideal homes for women wage-earners with a, 242.

 —— aggregate privacy of the, 258.

 —— increasing friction in the, 273.

 —— outgoing impulse in the, 303.

 —— the person _vs._ the, 304.

 Family advantage alone planned for, 296.

 Family co-operation, failure of, 240.

 Family devotion, the _vendetta_ an over-development of, 275.

 Family hotel, growth of the, 265.

 Family life, essentials of the patriarchal, 214.

 —— and individual privacy, 258.

 —— fulfilment of the true, 268.

 “Family man,” a good, 303.

 Family relation, change of basis in, 271.

 Family tie, the stomach no longer a, 253.

 Family strengthened by economic changes, 302.

 Family, visiting a strain on the, 303.

 Family unity bound by a table-cloth, 244.

 Fancy cooking, the evils of, 232.

 Father, the choice of a, 202.

 —— loyalty to the, 275.

 Faults of the sexuo-economic home, 261.

 Feast, the, a natural institution, 252.

 Federal Democracy, 148.

 Feeding and defence of woman, 61.

 Female of _genus homo_ supplied by the male, 18.

 Female mind, 149.

 Feminine delicacy an expression of sexuality, 46.

 Feminine functions, home duties as, 225.

 Femininity, functions of, 159.

 Feudalism, passage from, to monarchism, 206.

 —— of our present home life, 211.

 Fiction, the woman of, 150.

 Filial devotion, the height of, 176.

 First impressions of a baby, 281.

 Flesh, the, the world, and the devil, 328.

 Food, Bridge’s, Hayrick’s, Marrow’s, Pestle’s, 196.

 Food and woman, 226, 227.

 —— dilution and adulteration of, 227.

 —— woman’s preparation of, a sex-function, 235–237.

 —— increase in professional preparation of, 249.

 —— effects of standard of good, 250.

 —— taste and custom in, 250.

 Food products, standard of, 228.

 Foods, infants’, 196.

 —— health, 238.

 Force of habit, individual and social, 78.

 Form of sex-union, marriage a sanctioned, 213.

 Forms of social service, high and low, 279.

 Fort Sumter, 146.

 _Forum_, the, 171, 172.

 Fostering of selfishness, 280.

 France, the _noblesse_ of, 146.

 Free France, birth of, 137.

 Free woman and her home, 257.

 Freedom, social, before marriage, 309.

 —— after marriage, 310.

 Frederic the Great, 182.

 Friendship means more to men than to women, 306.

 —— between men and women a laughing-stock, 309.

 —— often destroyed by marriage, 310.

 —— no opportunity for true, 312.

 Friction in families increasing, 273.

 Fry, Elizabeth, 163.

 Fulfilment of true family life, 268.

 Function, extension of, in woman, 60.

 —— education a human, 180.

 —— cooking a social, 240.

 —— education a social, 283.

 —— educative maternity, a social, 293.

 Functions, development of, masculine and feminine, 29.

 —— of femininity, 159.

 —— home duties as feminine, 225.

 —— specialization of social, 241.

 Future development of cooking, results of, 254.

 —— good, present evil and, 206.

 —— home life, 298.

 Games, Olympian, 308.

 —— men the real players of, 308.

 Garrison, William Lloyd, 137.

 Gates of death in child-birth, 181.

 Germanic women, 46.

 Getting and giving, 132.

 Ghetto, survivors of the, 4.

 Gibson girl, the, 148.

 Giving, getting and, 132.

 God, our good impulses the voice of, 328.

 Good, present evil and future, 206.

 —— and evil, perceptions of, 324.

 —— the struggle between, 329.

 Good family man, a, 303.

 —— food, effects of standard of, 250.

 —— impulses, the voice of God, 328.

 —— results of sex-equality in economic relations, 340.

 Gomorrah, 72.

 Government, parental, 175.

 —— patriarchal, in the family, 214.

 —— home the seat of, 222.

 Gradual individualization of woman, 295.

 Greece, vigor of, 72.

 —— minds of, 161.

 —— Plato’s relation to, 162.

 Greece, academic groves of, 285.

 Greek commander and his Persian captives, 72.

 Griselda not satisfactory, 218.

 Groves of Greece, the academic, 285.

 Growing need of human beings for each other, 305.

 Growth of civilization, effect of, 63.

 —— of the family hotel, 265.

 —— of the virtue of loyalty, 274.

 —— of systematic education, 285.

 Guide to conduct, instinct not always a true, 209.

 Habit, force of industrial and racial, 78.

 Habit of species, man’s inversion of the usual, 54.

 “Handbook of Proverbs of all Nations,” facts concerning, 49.

 Harmful qualities, survivals of, 327.

 Hayrick’s Food, 196.

 Health foods, 238.

 Heart, the social, 161.

 Hebrew prayer, the, 56.

 Hebrews, race-modification of, 3.

 Height of filial devotion, 176.

 Heredity, no Salic law of, 69, 334.

 —— equalizing action of, 70.

 —— and the development of higher psychic attributes, 95.

 —— power of, 134.

 —— a mixed, 330.

 Heroic women, spirit of, 166.

 High and low forms of social service, 279.

 Higher sex-life, 143.

 Hindu, sex-prejudice of, 69.

 Historic crises, birth of, 146.

 History of the family, 213.

 Home, sanctuary of the, 203.

 —— our jealousy of innovation in the, 205.

 —— meaning of, 220.

 —— marriage not identical with the, 220.

 —— associations with, 221.

 —— the first seat of government, 222.

 —— highest development comes from outside the, 222.

 —— does not produce the virtues needed in: society, 223.

 —— a limit to social progress, 223.

 —— ideal, for women wage-earners with families, 242.

 —— the free woman and her, 257.

 —— faults of the sexuo-economic, 261.

 —— of the servant-wife, 263.

 —— of the individual, development of the, 264.

 Home, the kitchenless, 267.

 —— treason to society the price of comfort in the, 278.

 —— children brought up in the, 282.

 —— necessary for all, 298.

 —— no longer an economic entity, 313.

 —— the new, 314.

 Home cooking, advantages of, 249.

 Home duties, as feminine functions, 225.

 —— womanliness of, 225.

 Home life, woman and, 204.

 —— present method of, 210.

 —— feudalism of our present, 211.

 —— an accompaniment to social life, 222.

 —— benefits of, 260.

 —— tendency of, 263.

 —— causes of the decline of, 266.

 —— disadvantageous psychic relation of, 273.

 —— the future, 298.

 Home ties detrimental to personal development, 259.

 Homes, ideal suburban, 243.

 —— temporary, 265.

 Horse by nature economically independent, 7.

 Horses economic factors in society, 13.

 Hospitality, at first the traveller’s only help, 264.

 Hotel, growth of the family, 265.

 House, the public, 264.

 House mistress _vs._ house-servant, 211.

 —— service of women, 20.

 Household decoration, an expression of woman’s economic dependence,

 —— industries, organization of, 247.

 —— labor of women, 13.

 Housekeeping, division of labor in, 245.

 —— marriage without, 299.

 How to know one’s children, 301.

 Human basis, necessity for freedom of meeting on, 306.

 —— comfort not dependent on marriage, 298.

 —— development, process of, 134.

 —— distinction in virtue, 322.

 —— function, education a, 180.

 —— life, progress the duty of, 207.

 —— improvement, natural lines of, 317.

 —— motherhood, deficiencies of, 172;
   pathology of, 181;
   measure of, 190;
   facts as to, 200.

 —— nutrition, process of, 225.

 —— progress, 162;
   definition of, 208.

 Human relationship, wider, 304.

 —— soul, effect of democracy upon, in America, 148.

 —— virtues, change in scale of, 322;
   altruism the main distinction of, 323.

 Humanly related world, a, 313.

 Humanity, social distinction of, 23.

 —— progress of, accomplished by men, 74.

 —— moral development of, 326.

 Husband and wife not business partners, 12.

 Huxley on virtue, 324.

 Hybrids, our race of psychic, 331.

 Idea of the experienced mother, our, 293.

 Ideal babyhood, the, 288.

 —— home for women wage-earners with families, 242.

 —— suburban homes, 243.

 Idealism of motherhood, 189.

 Ignorance and innocence, 85.

 Importance of chastity, 318.

 Impression on the nerves, effect of a constant, 77.

 Impressions, first, of a baby, 281.

 Improvement in motherhood, 186.

 —— motherhood open to, 271.

 —— working for human, 317.

 Impulse, outgoing, in families, 305.

 —— woman a self-conscious centre of moral, 336.

 Impulses the “devil,” our evil, 328.

 —— the voice of God, our good, 328.

 Incentive, new, for the young man, 315.

 Increase in the professional preparation of food, 249.

 Increasing friction in families, 273.

 Independence of woman, the, 91.

 —— economic result of, 304, 316.

 Individual, modified by his means of livelihood, 3.

 —— force of habit in the, 78.

 —— competition of, 100.

 —— _vs._ social interest, 104–106.

 —— privacy of _vs._ the family, 258.

 —— in humanity, 264.

 —— development of the home of the, 264.

 —— reasons for the inefficiency of the, as mother, 293.

 —— woman entering more on life as an, 297.

 —— the socialized, profited by altruism, 325.

 —— the isolated, profited by egoism, 325.

 —— sense _vs._ social sense, struggle of, 327.

 Individuals, increasing number of, 297.

 —— permanent percentage of, 297

 —— provision for, 297.

 —— provision required for further needs of, 298.

 Individualization, progress of, 139.

 —— gradual, of women, 295.

 Industries, organization of household, 247.

 Inefficiency of the individual mother, reasons for, 292.

 Insufficient motherhood, 183.

 Infancy, surroundings of, capable of betterment, 292.

 Infants’ foods, 196.

 Influence, retarding, of restricted woman, 336.

 Ingelow, Jean, quotation from, 112.

 Injustice of Christianity to the Jew, 78.

 Inn, the, 265.

 Innocence, ignorance and, 85.

 Innovation in the home, our jealousy of, 205.

 Insanity, loneliness often a cause of, 267.

 Instinct of love, 124.

 —— not always a true guide to conduct, 209.

 —— maternal force of, 175.

 —— efficacy of maternal, 194.

 —— intelligence and, 195.

 —— in feeding of children, 196.

 —— results of maternal, 198.

 Institution, chattel slavery a social, 78.

 —— the feast a natural, 252.

 Intelligence, instinct and, in motherhood, 195.

 Intercourse, woman’s share in social, 295.

 —— the true social, 302.

 —— a wide individual, 303.

 —— the new social, 313.

 Interest, individual _vs._ social, 104–106.

 —— community of, 114.

 —— social, among women, 163.

 Interests of cities, the larger social, 267.

 Inter-human relations, our unsuccessful, 24.

 Intruder, the servant an, 256.

 Isolated individual profited by egoism, 325.

 Jealousy of innovation in the home, 205.

 Jellyby, Mrs., 163.

 Jew, livelihood of, 4.

 —— injustice of Christianity to the, 78.

 Kindergarten, result of development of, 286.

 King, loyalty to the, 275.

 Kipling, Rudyard, 112.

 —— quotation from, 112.

 Kitchenless home, the, 267.

 Knowledge, primitive notion of, 285.

 Koran, the, 28.

 Labor, division of, in housekeeping, 245.

 —— movement, the, 138.

 Lack of sex-value, failure to marry held a, 90.

 Lady of Shalott, 87.

 Lancelot, 87.

 Large moral sense of woman, 335.

 Law, a remarkable sociological, 80.

 Laws, two, of brain action, 76.

 Legitimate sex-competition, 113.

 Life, the inevitable trend of, 73.

 —— motherhood a process of, 178.

 —— progress the duty of human, 207.

 —— women entering on a more individual, 297.

 Liking and custom in food, 250.

 Limit to social progress, home a, 223.

 Little Ellie, 87.

 Living organisms, balance of power in, 59.

 Lochinvar, 92.

 Loneliness often a cause of insanity, 267.

 Love, the course of true, 28.

 —— the instinct of, 124.

 —— the power of, 133.

 —— the companionship of, 219.

 —— the perfect, 300.

 —— a necessary attraction, 325.

 Lovers, married, economically apart, 219.

 Lower animals, economic dependence among, 5, 6.

 —— mothers, 180.

 Loyalty, growth of the virtue of, 274.

 —— the first principle of social existence, 274.

 —— different phases of, 274.

 —— to the father, 275.

 —— to the king, 275.

 —— modern examples of, 276.

 —— to work, 276.

 “Lynn, the Three Old Maids of,” 88.

 Maid, the old, in proverb, 88.

 “Maids, the Three Old, of Lynn,” 88.

 Males, Nature’s experiments in, 130.

 Mammalia, the order, resultant of primary sex-distinction, 35.

 Mammalia, the habits of the order, 36.

 Man the food supply of woman, 22.

 —— the economic environment of woman, 38.

 —— woman’s strongest modifying force, 38.

 —— the choice of a young, 71.

 —— “marriage makes a mouse of a,” 113.

 —— the maternalizing of, 127.

 —— a good family, 303.

 —— the new, 316.

 —— dual nature of, 332.

 —— sovereignty of, due to accident of sex, 337.

 —— young, in the city, 311.

 —— visiting women, 311.

 —— a new incentive for, 315.

 Manhood, woman’s new estimate of true, 315.

 Marriage, not a partnership, 10.

 —— development of monogamous, 25, 95.

 —— advantage of, to the race, 25.

 —— moral qualities of, 25.

 —— a lottery (quot.); 28.

 —— attitude of a woman toward, 86.

 —— of convenience, 92.

 —— women to improve the race by, 92.

 —— “makes a mouse of a man,” 113.

 —— _vs._ collectivity, 115.

 —— a sanctioned form of sex-union, 213.

 —— and “the family,” 213.

 —— _vs._ the family, 215.

 —— development of, retarded by the family, 218.

 —— increasing demand for true, 218.

 —— not identical with home, 220.

 —— bachelor apartments _vs._, 297.

 —— human comfort not dependent on, 298.

 —— without housekeeping, 299.

 —— men and women forced by their needs to, 300.

 —— value of the care of children to, 301.

 —— social freedom before, 309.

 —— social freedom after, 310.

 —— friendship often destroyed by, 310.

 —— the cross-bred product of our, 332.

 —— relation, permanence of, 301.

 Married lovers economically apart, 219.

 Marrow’s Food for infants, 196.

 Mars, 192.

 Martineau, Harriet, 53.

 Martyrs, development of, 80.

 Martyrs in proverb, 80.

 —— men and women equal as, 147.

 Masculine activity in obstetrics, 197.

 Master, vices of the, 338.

 Maternal duties, alleged requirements of, 19.

 —— energy, the source of productive industry, 126.

 —— instinct, unworthy of superstitious reverence, 194;
   results of, 198.

 —— passion a sex-distinction, 41.

 —— sacrifice, as a means of benefiting the species, 191.

 Maternalizing of man, 127.

 Maternity. See Motherhood.

 Matriolatry, 174, 176.

 Measure of human motherhood, 190.

 Men, progress of humanity accomplished by, 74.

 —— forced by their needs to marriage, 300.

 —— the better friendship of, 306.

 —— the real players of games, 308.

 Method of home life, is our present, the best?, 210.

 Methods of motherhood, the old, 270.

 Middle Ages, the serf in, 78.

 —— tournament of, 111.

 —— minds of, 161.

 —— universities of, 285.

 —— best social factor of, 326.

 Milk, Pennywhistle’s Sterilized, 196.

 “Mind, the female,” 149.

 Minds of Greece, 161.

 —— of the Middle Ages, 161.

 Mingling on a human basis, 306.

 Mining camp, New Englanders in a, 320.

 Mischief-box, Pandora and the, 329.

 Mistress, house, _vs._ house-servant, 211.

 Mixed heredity, 330.

 Mixture, English blood, an expression of fresh racial life, 147.

 Modern examples of loyalty, 276.

 Modification to motherhood, examples of, 19.

 —— of woman to sex, 39.

 —— to sex, instance of, 65.

 Monarchism, passage from feudalism to, 206.

 Moral development of humanity, the, 326.

 —— impulse, woman a self-conscious centre of, 336.

 —— progress, woman’s one-sided contribution to, 335.

 —— sense, an exclusively social distinction, 319.

 —— of woman, the large, 335.

 Mother, economic status of, 16, 21.

 —— working power of, 21.

 —— instinct of, 175.

 —— value of, 177.

 —— duty of, 187.

 —— criminal failure of, 197.

 —— the new, 211.

 —— and son, unnatural separation of, 268.

 —— restricted sense of duty of, 277.

 —— a bad baby-educator, 284.

 —— as a social servant, 290.

 —— her prerogative of nursing, 291.

 —— our idea of the experienced, 293.

 —— always an amateur, 293.

 —— reasons for the inefficiency of the individual, 293.

 —— result of servitude of, 334.

 Mothers, lower, 180.

 Motherhood not an exchangeable commodity, 15.

 —— and economic production, 17.

 —— alleged disabilities of, 18.

 —— disadvantages of, 171.

 —— deficiencies of human, 173.

 —— a process of life, 178.

 —— the pathology of human, 181.

 —— educative, 183.

 —— inefficient, 183.

 —— standard of, 185.

 —— in education, 185.

 —— responsibilities of, 186.

 —— improvement in, 186.

 —— a right, 188.

 —— and racial advance, 189.

 —— idealism of, 189.

 —— the measure of human, 190.

 —— unpreparedness for, 192.

 —— instinct and intelligence in, 195.

 —— a responsible, 200.

 —— facts as to human, 200.

 —— training for, 202.

 —— professions unsuitable to, 246.

 —— old methods of, 270.

 —— open to improvement, 271.

 —— supplemented by education, 287.

 —— false perspective taught by primitive, 289.

 —— the truest, 290.

 —— educative, a social function, 293.

 —— organized, productive of a nobler world, 294.

 Movement, the woman’s, 122, 139, 144, 146.

 —— the labor, 138.

 Natural institution, the feast a, 252.

 —— selection, force of, 36.

 —— the race developed by, 37.

 Nature, woman’s place in (quot.), 171.

 —— man’s dual, 332.

 Necessities of the child, 301.

 Need of each other, our growing, 305.

 —— the social, 306.

 Needs of the child, old and new, 271.

 —— of individuals, further provision required for, 298.

 —— men and women forced to marriage by their, 300.

 Nerve, effect of constant impressions on a, 77.

 New Englanders in mining camps, 320.

 —— home, the, 314.

 —— man, the, 316.

 —— mother, the, 211.

 —— social intercourse, the, 313.

 —— York, women wage-earners in, 242.

 Nightingale, Florence, 163.

 _Noblesse_ of France, 146.

 Non-productive consumers, 118.

 Norman, the, 147.

 Notion of knowledge, primitive, 285.

 Nursing, the mothers prerogative of, 291.

 Nutrition, the process of human, 225.

 Obedience, virtue of, 325.

 —— altruism of, 327.

 Obstetrics, masculine activity in, 197.

 Old maid in proverb, 88.

 “Old Maids of Lynn, the Three,” 88.

 Old methods of motherhood, 270.

 Old and new needs of the child, 271.

 Olympian games, 308.

 One another, our social need of, 306.

 Open to improvement, motherhood, 271.

 Opinions on over-development of sex, 172.

 Opponents of chattel slavery, 137.

 Organisms, growth of, in two sexes, 29.

 —— living, balance of power in, 59.

 Organization, forbidden to woman, 67.

 —— of household industries, 247.

 Organized motherhood productive of a nobler world, 294.

 Othello, 66.

 “Our Better Halves” (Ward), 171.

 Outgoing impulse in families, 303.

 Over-development of sex, opinions on, 172.

 Over-development of family devotion, the _vendetta_ an, 275.

 Pandora and the mischief-box, 329.

 Paradoxical privacy, 255.

 Parasitic creature, qualities developed by, 62.

 Pardiggle, Mrs., 163.

 Parent and child, wrong relation between, 272.

 Parental divinity, 175.

 —— government, 175.

 Parthenogenesis, 130.

 Partners, husband and wife not business, 12.

 Passage from feudalism to monarchism, 206.

 Passing the love of women (quot.), 305.

 Pastoral unit, the family a, 215.

 —— the tribe a, 215.

 Pathology of human motherhood, 181.

 Patriarchal government in the family, 214.

 Patriotism, social qualities of, 325.

 Paul, command of, to woman, 68.

 Peace and comfort for women, 300.

 Peacock, tail of, a secondary sex-distinction, 35.

 Pennywhistle’s Sterilized Milk for infants, 196.

 Percentage, permanent, of individuals, 297.

 Perceptions of good and evil, 324.

 Perfect love, 300.

 Periclean age, 161.

 Periods of transition always painful, 296.

 Permanence of the marriage relation, 301.

 Permanent percentage of individuals, 297.

 Persia, sexuality of, 72.

 Persian captives, stripping of, 73.

 Person, the, _vs._ the family, 304.

 Personal independence, how to retain, 11.

 —— development, home ties detrimental to, 259.

 Personality of the sex-relation, 83, 106.

 —— the woman as a, 315.

 Perspective, false, taught by primitive motherhood, 289.

 Pestle’s Food for infants, 196.

 Petruchio and the shrew, 333.

 Phases of loyalty, 274.

 Phenomena of sex, study of, 27.

 Philanthropy, social quality of, 325.

 Phillips, Wendell, 137.

 Phœnicians, pioneer traders of the world, 4.

 Plato, 162, 174.

 Players of games, men the real, 308.

 Popular voice on marriage, 93.

 Population, preservation of, 160.

 Power, balance of, in living organisms, 59.

 —— of classification, 81.

 —— of love, 133.

 —— of sentiment, 248.

 Practice of cooking, woman’s, 229.

 Prayer, the Hebrew, 56.

 Preparation of food, woman’s, a sex-function, 235–237.

 Prerogative, the mother’s, of nursing, 291.

 Present evil and future good, 206.

 —— home life, feudalism of, 211.

 Preservation of population, 160.

 Price of comfort in the home, treason to society, the, 278.

 Primitive man, sex-competition of, 60.

 —— motherhood, false perspective taught by, 289.

 —— notion of knowledge, the, 285.

 Principle of social existence, loyalty the first, 274.

 Privacy of home, 248.

 —— paradoxical, 255.

 —— the true, 256.

 —— family _vs._ individual, 258.

 —— aggregate, of the family, 258.

 Problems, present, in economics, 99.

 Proclamation of Daniel, 71.

 Process of sexual selection, 111.

 —— of life, motherhood a, 178.

 —— of human nutrition, 225.

 Processes of race and self preservation, 52.

 —— of reproduction and education, 179.

 Product, wealth a social, 101.

 —— the cross-bred, of our marriage, 332.

 Production, economic, 116.

 —— and woman, 117, 118.

 Products, standard of food, 228.

 Profession, cooking as a, 239.

 Professional cleaners, advantage of, 255.

 —— preparation of food increasing, 249.

 —— service in cooking, 241.

 Professions, women’s choice of, 246.

 —— unsuitable to motherhood, 246.

 Profit of egoism to the isolated individual, 325.

 —— of altruism to the socialized individual, 325.

 Progeny of Anglo-Saxon and Oriental, 332.

 —— of Anglo-Saxon and African, 332.

 Progress of humanity accomplished by men, 74.

 —— of individualization, 139.

 —— true social, based on a spirit of inter-human love, 142.

 —— of women, 148, 149.

 —— unorganized home industries a check to social, 156.

 —— human, lies in perfecting the social organization, 162.

 —— the duty of human life, 207.

 —— definition of human, 208.

 —— home a limit to social, 223.

 —— woman’s one-sided contribution to moral, 335.

 Proofs of excessive sex-development, 84.

 Prostitution, social estimate of, 28.

 —— the flower of the sexuo-economic relation, 171.

 Proverb, woman in, 43, 50, 65, 71, 114.

 —— the martyr in, 80.

 —— the old maid in, 88.

 “Proverbs of All Nations,” facts concerning the “Handbook of,” 49.

 Provision for individuals not members of families, 297, 298.

 Psychic hybrids, our race of, 331.

 —— qualities of woman, a result of the sexuo-economic relation, 337.

 —— relation, disadvantageous, of home life, 273.

 Public house, the, 264.

 _Punch_, advice of, in regard to marriage, 28.

 Qualities, survival of harmful, 327.

 —— woman’s psychic, the result of the sexuo-economic relation, 337.

 Quality of patriotism, the social, 325.

 —— of philanthropy, the social, 325.

 —— of statesmanship, the social, 325.

 Question of woman’s soul, 68.

 Race of psychic hybrids, our, 331.

 —— attributes different from sex-attributes, 51.

 —— development, a check to, 65.

 —— distinction, civilization our, 74.

 —— function, cooking retarded as a, 241.

 —— myth, a, 92.

 —— preservation, process of, not self-preservation, 34, 52.

 Races, dead, 25.

 Racial advance, woman’s share in, 9;
   motherhood and, 189.

 —— habits, force of, 78.

 Reasons for the inefficiency of the individual mother, 293.

 Reflection of savage conditions, savage virtues the, 321.

 Relation, extension of the social, 123.

 —— woman’s, to society, 164.

 —— change of basis in the family, 271.

 —— the wrong, between parent and child, 272.

 —— psychic, of home life disadvantageous, 273.

 —— permanence of the marriage, 301.

 —— of the sexes, effect of, 318.

 —— sexuo-economic, changes of, 122;
   benefit of, 136;
   evil results of, 187, 339;
   servant-motherhood a result of, 279;
   outgrown, 316;
   woman’s psychic qualities a result of, 337;
   selfishness fostered by, 338.

 Relations, economic, good results of sex-equality in, 340.

 Relationship, broader, for the child, 291.

 —— wider human, not wider sex-relationship, 304.

 Relative term, virtue a, 274.

 Religion, virtue of faith in, 322.

 Religious development, dead-line of, 68.

 Repression of woman, results of, 119.

 Reproduction, excessive indulgence an injury to, 42.

 —— and education, processes of, 179.

 Responsibilities of motherhood, 186, 200.

 Restricted sense of duty, of the mother, 277.

 Restriction of woman, in freedom of expression, 66.

 —— in thought, 335.

 —— retarding influence of, 336.

 Result of excessive sex-energy, the, 141.

 —— of the sexuo-economic relation, servant-motherhood the, 279.

 —— of the development of the kindergarten, 286.

 —— of the arrested development of woman, 330.

 —— of the economic independence of woman, 331.

 —— of the servitude of the mother, 334.

 Result of the sexuo-economic relation, woman’s psychic qualities a,

 Results of chattel slavery, 82.

 —— motherhood to be measured by its, 178.

 —— of the untrained maternal instinct, 198.

 —— of the future development of cooking, 254.

 —— evil, of the sexuo-economic relation, 339.

 —— good, of sex-equality in economic relations, 340.

 Retarding influence of restricted woman, 336.

 Right motherhood, 188.

 Right not proven by enjoyment, 209.

 Rothschild, house of, 4.

 Rousseau, J. J., 137, 174.

 Sacrifice, past, of woman, 134.

 —— the maternal, 191.

 Salic law, none in heredity, 69, 334.

 Sanctuary of the home, 203.

 Saturn, 192.

 Savage virtues the reflection of savage conditions, 321.

 Saxon, 147.

 Scale of virtues, changing, 322.

 Science, ethics a social, 319.

 Seat of government, home the, 181, 222.

 Self-preservation, process of, not race-preservation, 34.

 —— the sexes and, 52.

 Selfishness fostered by the sexuo-economic relation, 280, 338.

 Sense, duty a social, 276.

 —— moral, an exclusively social distinction, 319.

 —— struggle of individual _vs._ social, 327.

 —— moral, of woman, large, 335.

 —— of duty of the mother, restricted, 277.

 Sensual not sexual, 40.

 Sentiment, power of, 248.

 Separation, unnatural, of mother and son, 268.

 Serf in the Middle Ages, 78.

 Servant, an intruder, 256.

 —— the mother as a social, 290.

 —— cooking of, 239.

 Servant-motherhood, the result of the sexuo-economic relation, 279.

 —— effect of, on the child, 280.

 Servant-wife, home life of, 263.

 Service, professional, in cooking, 241.

 —— high and low forms of social, 279.

 Servile world, that in which all women are house-servants, 262.

 Servitude, discord of will and action in, 333.

 —— of the mother, the result of, 334.

 “Sex, the weaker,” 45.

 —— domination of, 53.

 —— instance of modification of, 65.

 —— decadence of, 158.

 —— opinions on over-development of, 172.

 —— man’s sovereignty due to accident of, 337.

 —— children trained to, 309.

 Sex-attraction, factor in reproduction, 30.

 —— manifested to excess, 31.

 —— curse of excessive, 31.

 —— economic profit of woman won through, 63.

 —— woman’s amusement gained through, 308.

 Sex-attributes different from race-attributes, 57.

 Sex-characteristics, primary and secondary, 32, 33.

 Sex-competition of primitive man, 60.

 Sex-development, precocity of, in children, 54–56.

 —— cause of exaggerated, 58.

 —— one check to excessive, 72.

 —— proofs of excessive, 84.

 Sex-distinction, natural processes of, 29.

 —— manifestations of, 32.

 —— excessive, 33.

 —— checks to, 35.

 —— development of, in woman, 38.

 —— woman’s means of getting a livelihood, 38.

 —— primary and secondary, 40, 41.

 —— normal and abnormal, 43.

 —— psychic manifestation of, 47.

 —— of women, 93.

 Sex-energy, primal manifestation of, 42.

 —— a racial wrong, 96.

 —— excess of, 96.

 —— result of excessive, 141.

 Sex-function, woman’s preparation of food a, 235, 237.

 Sex-indulgence, excess in, 30.

 Sex-interest in marriage, 93.

 Sex-life, the higher, 143.

 Sex-prejudice of the Chinese, 69.

 —— of the Hindu, 69.

 Sex-relation and economic relation, 5.

 —— phenomena of, in the human species, 23.

 Sex-relation a field of human difficulty, 25.

 —— maladjustment of, in humanity, 25.

 —— a frightful source of evil, 26.

 —— personal quality of, 83, 106.

 —— feminine value of women in, 94.

 —— only for sale among human beings, 95.

 —— in marriage, 97.

 —— not social relation, 105.

 —— _vs._ sexuo-economic relation, 108.

 Sex-relationship, 74.

 —— wider human relationship not a wider, 304.

 Sexual selection, process of, 111.

 Sexuo-economic relation, effect of, 94.

 —— benefit of, 136.

 —— results of, 187, 329.

 —— outgrown, 316.

 —— selfishness fostered by, 338.

 Shalott, Lady of, 87.

 Share in social intercourse, woman’s, 295.

 Shrew, Petruchio and the, 333.

 Slave, vices of the, in woman, 333.

 Slavery, results of chattel, 82.

 —— opponents of chattel, 137.

 Social condition, pressure of, on the Jew, 4.

 —— consciousness, a vital force to-day, 143.

 —— eating, bad effects of, 254.

 —— evil, 28, 94.

 —— evolution, a natural process, 95.

 —— processes of, 102, 103.

 —— existence, loyalty the first principle of, 274.

 —— factor, what man the best, 326.

 —— freedom before marriage, 309;
   after marriage, 310.

 —— function, cooking a, 240;
   specialization of, 241;
   education a, 283;
   educative maternity a, 293.

 —— heart, the, 156.

 —— institution, chattel slavery a, 78.

 —— intercourse, woman’s share in, 295;
   demand for free, between the sexes, 296;
   development of the true, 302;
   how to assist this development, 302;
   the new, 313.

 —— interest _vs._ individual interest, 104–106;
   among women, 163;
   the larger, of cities, 267.

 —— life, home life an accompaniment to, 222.

 —— need, our, of one another, 306.

 —— product, wealth a, 101.

 —— progress, checks to, 24;
   the true, 142;
   home a limit to, 223.

 —— qualities, 325.

 —— relation, not sex-relation, 105;
   extension of, 123.

 —— science, ethics a, 219.

 —— sense, duty a, 276;
   struggle of the individual _vs._, 327.

 —— servant, the mother as a, 290.

 —— service, high and low forms of, 279.

 —— spirit does not rest on a sex-basis, 143.

 —— sympathy, growing activity of, 163.

 —— unit, the family as a, 217.

 Society, survival of the complex, 102.

 —— woman’s relation to, 164.

 —— the price of comfort in the home treason to, 278.

 Sociological law, a remarkable, 80.

 Sodom, 72.

 Solomon, 50.

 Somerville, Mary, 53.

 Son, unnatural separation of mother and, 268.

 Soul, question of woman’s, 68.

 —— the human, in America, 148.

 Sovereignty, man’s, due to accident of sex, 337.

 Standard of motherhood, 185.

 —— of food products, 228.

 —— of good food, effects of a, 250.

 Stanton, Elizabeth Cady, 166.

 Statesmanship, social quality of, 325.

 Sterilized Milk, Pennywhistle’s, 196.

 Stowe, Harriet Beecher, 137.

 Stomach, no longer a family tie, 253.

 Strain on family ties, family visiting a, 303.

 Stripping of Persian captives, 73.

 Struggle of individual sense _vs._ social sense, 327.

 —— between good and evil, 329.

 Submission, development of, in woman, 333.

 Sumter, Fort, 146.

 Surprised Britons about Boston Tea Party, 146.

 Surroundings of infancy capable of betterment, 292.

 Survival of a complex society, 102.

 —— of harmful qualities, 327.

 Sympathy, social, 163.

 Systematic education, growth of, 285.

 Table, a common, a common tie, 252.

 Table-cloth, family unity bound by the, 244.

 Tea Party, Boston, 146.

 Temporary homes, 265.

 Tendency of home life, 263.

 Tennyson, quotation from, 147.

 Term, virtue a relative, 274.

 Thought, restriction of, in woman, 335.

 “Three Old Maids of Lynn,” 88.

 Tie, a common table a common, 252.

 —— the stomach no longer a family, 253.

 Ties, home, detrimental to personal development, 259.

 —— family, strengthened by economic changes, 302.

 —— family, family visiting a strain on, 303.

 Tournament of the Middle Ages, 111.

 Towers, the Duchess of, 148.

 Training for motherhood, 202.

 —— the wrong, for baby-culture, 270.

 Transition, all periods of, painful, 296.

 Treason to society, the price of comfort in the home, 278.

 Trend, inevitable, of life, 73.

 Tribe, an extension of the family, 215.

 —— the pastoral unit, 215.

 True family life, fulfilment of the, 268.

 —— love, course of, 28.

 —— marriage, increasing demand for, 218.

 —— privacy, 256.

 —— social progress, 142.

 Truest motherhood, 290.

 “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” 161.

 Uniform environment, result of, 64.

 Unit, the family as a social, 217.

 Unity, family, bound by a table-cloth, 244.

 Universities of the Middle Ages, 285.

 Unnatural separation of mother and son, 268.

 Unpreparedness for motherhood, 192.

 Unsatisfactory association among women, 307.

 Unsuitable to maternity, professions, 246.

 Use, familiarity by, 79.

 Utah, the family in, 216.

 Value of free association of the sexes, 314.

 Vedas, the, 28.

 _Vendetta_, an over-development of family devotion, 275.

 —— of the Corsicans, 275.

 Vice _vs._ virtue, 109.

 —— promoted by the sexuo-economic relation, 312.

 Vices of the slave in woman, 333.

 —— of the master in man, 338.

 Vigor of Greece, 72.

 Virtue _vs._ vice, 109.

 —— of loyalty, growth of, 274.

 —— a relative term, 274.

 —— of faith in religion, 322.

 —— human distinction in, 322.

 —— altruism the main distinction of human, 323.

 —— Huxley on, 324.

 —— of obedience, 325.

 Virtues, savage, reflection of savage conditions, 321.

 —— changing scale of, 322.

 Voice of God, our good impulses called the, 328.

 Wage-earners, women, with families, ideal home for, 242.

 —— in New York, 242.

 War, woman in, 165.

 Ward, Lester F., quotation from, 171.

 Wealth a social product, 101.

 Wider human relationship not a wider sex-relationship, a, 304.

 Wife, husband and, not business partners, 12.

 —— supported by her husband, 18.

 Will and action, discord of, in servitude, 333.

 Wives as earners through domestic service, 14.

 —— not salaried as mothers, 17.

 Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, 166.

 —— club movement, 164.

 —— movement, 122, 139, 144, 146.

 Womanliness of home duties, 225.

 Women as economic factors in society, 13;
   labor of, not a factor in economic exchange, 15.

 —— as mothers, 15.

 —— house service of, 20.

 —— extra-maternal duties of, 21.

 —— modification of, to sex, 39.

 —— in proverb, 43, 50, 65, 71, 114.

 —— development of sex-activity of, 44.

 —— of the harem, 45.

 —— of the Germanic tribes, 46.

 —— feebleness of, a sex-distinction, 46.

 —— of fiction, 50.

 —— over-sexed, 54.

 —— first enslaving of, 60.

 —— results of enslaving of, 61.

 —— fed and defended by men, 61.

 —— economic profit of, won through sex-attraction, 63.

 —— restrictions upon, 66.

 —— work of, 67.

 —— specialization and organization forbidden to, 67.

 —— Paul’s command to, 68.

 —— question of soul in, 68.

 —— attitude of, toward marriage, 86.

 —— independence of, 91.

 —— results of repression of, 119.

 —— past sacrifices of, 134.

 —— economic dependence of, ending, 138.

 —— as martyrs, 147.

 —— among the pioneers, 147.

 —— progress of, 148, 149.

 —— as workers, 152, 153.

 —— specialized, 155.

 —— desire of, for work, 157.

 —— extension of functions in, 160.

 —— social interest among, 163.

 —— relation of, to society, 164.

 —— in war, 165.

 —— spirit of heroic, 166.

 —— development of, 168.

 —— specialization of, 169, 171.

 —— economic dependence of rich, 170.

 —— place of, in nature, 171.

 —— and home life, 204.

 —— food and, 226, 227.

 —— practice of cooking by, 229.

 —— preparation of food by, a sex-function, 235–237.

 —— wage-earners, with families, ideal home for, 242.

 —— wage-earners in New York, 242.

 —— motherhood of, and the choice of professions by, 246.

 —— free, and their homes, 257.

 —— household decoration of, an expression of economic dependence, 257.

 —— share of, in social intercourse, 295.

 —— gradual individualization of, 295.

 —— entrance of, upon a more individual life, 297.

 —— peace and comfort for, 300.

 —— forced by their needs to marriage, 300.

 —— result of economic independence of, 304.

 —— unsatisfactory association of, 307.

 —— amusements of, gained through sex-attraction, 308.

 —— embarrassments of young man visiting, 311.

 —— cost of pleasing, 312.

 —— new estimate of true manhood by, 315.

 —— personality of, 315.

 —— becoming economically independent, 316.

 —— condition of, the doorway of evil, 329.

 —— result of arrested development of, 330.

 —— vices of the slave in, 333.

 —— development of submission in, 333.

 —— restriction of thought in, 335.

 —— large moral sense of, 335.

 —— one-sided contribution of, to moral progress, 335.

 —— retarding influence of, restricted, 336.

 —— self-conscious centres of moral influence, 336.

 —— psychic qualities of, a result of the sexuo-economic relation, 337.

 World, a servile, 262.

 —— organized motherhood productive of a nobler, 294.

 —— a humanly related, 313.

 —— the, the flesh, and the devil, 328.

 Work, woman’s, 67.

 —— woman’s desire for, 157.

 —— loyalty to our, 276.

 Workers, women, 152, 153.

 Working for human improvement, 317.

 Worship, of the home, 204.

 —— family, in China, 223.

 Wrong relation between parent and child, 272.

 —— training for baby-culture, 270.

 Young man, education of the, 188.

 —— in the city, 311.

 —— new incentive for, 315.


                          TRANSCRIBER’S NOTES

 1. Contents added by transcriber.
 2. P. 265, changed “household gods” to “household goods”.
 3. Silently corrected typographical errors.
 4. Retained anachronistic and non-standard spellings as printed.
 5. Enclosed italics font in _underscores_.

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